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[Rules] Martial Abilities

For the Scrolls of Reshar campaign setting by Golden-Esque

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[Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:34 am

From the daring swashbuckler to the stalwart defender to the deadly war mage, those that study the art of war become familiar with a wide array of techniques, whether on purpose or by simple observation and self practice. These abilities range from the extraordinary to the fantastic, and those who call themselves masters of combat are able to use a wide array of combat techniques that commoners could barely dream of. These techniques are known as martial abilities, and this section details the uses and special rules associated with them.

Martial Abilities
The term ‘martial ability’ refers to any special ability normally granted to a character through levels in a martial adept class. Martial abilities fall into two broad categories: maneuvers and stances. A martial maneuver is a discrete extraordinary or supernatural effect that is temporarily expended after it is used. A stance, in contrast, is an assumed fighting position that is never expended and is always available to a martial adept. A martial adept is the term uses for anyone who is able to initiate maneuvers, and any class that grants access to martial powers is a martial adept class.

Unlike with spells or powers, a character can use any martial abilities he or she knows as many times as they like in a single day. However, martial maneuvers are restricted to one use per encounter; after initiating a martial maneuver, it is expended for the remainder of that combat and cannot be used again, barring special circumstances or abilities. Martial stances can be assumed and ended as often as the adept wishes, unless a special circumstance or ability prevents them from doing so.

Selecting Martial Disciplines
At 1st level, all martial adept classes gain access to a specific number of martial disciplines. Magi, Paladins, Psychic Warriors, Rangers, and Soulknives gain access to three specified disciplines while Barbarians, Fighters, Knights, Monks, and Rogues gain access to four. Swordsages gain access to six specified disciplines.

At 1st level, a martial adept is assumed to have made choices in their life that allowed them to pick which path of martial study they wished to take. Each martial adept class can, at 1st level, select a number of disciplines that their class automatically has access to and swap them for other disciplines. The number of disciplines that a martial adept can swap depends on which adept class he or she belongs to. Each martial discipline has a specific list of prerequisites that must be met in order for an adept to learn martial abilities from that discipline if it does not appear on their class’s list of martial disciplines.

Multiclass martial adepts cannot learn the same maneuver for both of their class lists; they either know the maneuver or they don’t. For example, if a Fighter 4 / Rogue 5 both have access to the Iron Heart discipline, the adept could only know the steel wind maneuver as part of their Fighter list or their Rogue list, not both lists.

Readying Martial Abilities
Martial maneuvers need to be readied before they can be used. A readied maneuver can be initiated; after a readied maneuver is initiated, it becomes exhausted for the remainder of the combat, barring special abilities that refresh exhausted maneuvers.

The number of maneuvers that a martial adept can ready depends on their adept class and initiator level. Initially, a martial adept can ready all of the maneuvers he or she knows, but as the adept increases in level their maneuvers known rapidly surpasses their maneuvers readied, which means that the adept must select which maneuvers they wish to ready for use. If the character gained martial abilities through a means other than levels in a marital adept class (such as through the Martial Study feat or as part of their racial profile), the character can ready each maneuver they know.

Reading martial maneuvers requires a brief period of practice and exercise that lasts 5 minutes. Maneuvers that are not readied during this time are not considered expended; they merely are inactive and not practiced. An adept can take this 5 minute readying period as many times as they like during the course of the day, each time selecting new readied maneuvers. Like with casting spells, a martial adept requires 8 hours of rest in order to use their martial abilities; without rest, a warrior’s movements become too sluggish and predictable for any of their maneuvers to succeed.

Unlike with spells, a character cannot ready a maneuver multiple times, even if they are a multiclass adept; they are either ready to use the maneuver or they aren’t.

Initiating Martial Abilities
To initiate martial abilities, a martial adept must be able to move and be focused enough on the combat to set up their assaults. This means that the martial adept cannot use any martial abilities while they are dazed, frightened, grappled, immobilized, nauseated, panicked, paralyzed, pinned, stunned, unconscious, or otherwise unable to move. The Rage effect, which normally infringes on one’s ability to focus, does not affect an adept’s ability to initiate martial maneuvers. All martial abilities require a specific action to initiate: an immediate action, a swift action, a move action, a standard action, or a full-round action. The process of initiating a maneuver is similar to casting a spell or manifesting a power, although there are some differences.

A maneuver must be readied and unexhausted in order for a martial adept to be able to initiate it. A stance can be initiated as a swift action. A martial maneuver must be immediately used during the turn that it is initiated. After initiating a martial maneuver, it is immediately exhausted and cannot be used again for the duration of the encounter. A stance remains in effect indefinitely, the adept gaining its benefits until they change stances as a swift action or until it ends, if the stance’s effects end, as noted in its description. Stances can be used outside of combat situations, granting their benefits to an adept while exploring or traveling.

If a martial adept attempts to initiate a maneuver and misses with it (by failing to overcome Armor Class, saving throws, Combat Maneuver Defense, etc) or subsequently cannot use it during their turn, the maneuver is still considered expended and its initiation action is spent for the purpose of determining what actions remain available to the adept on that turn. The martial adept does not provoke attacks of opportunity when they initiate a maneuver or stance unless its description explicitly says otherwise. Some maneuvers allow a martial adept to move, charge, and take other actions that provoke attacks of opportunity. Unless the maneuver description specifically says that such actions do not provoke attacks of opportunity, they do, and feats and other special abilities that cause actions to no longer provoke attacks of opportunity apply to martial abilities.

Unlike with other ability systems, a martial adept does not need to concentrate in order to initiate a martial ability and they do not lose their martial abilities after being injured by hostile attacks while initiating a martial ability, as a spellcaster or manifester might lose a spell or power.

Furthermore, if they are injured or affected by hostile spells, powers, or maneuvers while initiating a maneuver or assume a stance, a martial adept doesn't lose the maneuver or stance. Enemy interference might make certain maneuvers impossible to complete, however. For example, if an enemy who readied an action to trip the martial adept when they started their turn knocks them prone, the martial adept would not be able to use a maneuver that required them to charge. Similarly, if the martial adept began their turn grappled or pinned, they might find that most of the maneuvers available to them simply won't be of any use until they get free.

Initiator Level
Most martial abilities have variable effects, such as their duration, that depend on the adept’s initiator level. A martial adept’s initiator level is equal to their class level in the appropriate martial adept class. If a creature lacks martial adept class levels but still has access to martial abilities (such as through the Martial Study feat), their initiator level is equal to half of their effective character level.

Selecting Martial Abilities
Martial abilities are organized by level, ranging from 1 to 9. Higher-leveled maneuvers are more powerful than lower-leveled ones, and as a martial adept gains levels, they have the option to learn higher-leveled abilities. An adept’s class level determines the highest-leveled martial abilities they can learn; this is listed under the class’s maximum maneuver level.

At 1st level, an adept selects a number of maneuvers equal to their class’s maneuvers known and a number of stances equal to their stances known. At 1st level, all martial adept classes can only select 1st level maneuvers, but they can select these maneuvers from any discipline that they have access to. As the adept increases in level, they can select additional martial abilities, as shown on the adept’s maneuver’s known and stances known entry, and as they gain levels their maximum maneuver level also increases.

Beginning at an adept’s 4th class level and at every even-numbered class level thereafter, a martial adept can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one he or she already knows. In effect, the adept looses the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. An adept may choose a new maneuver of any level they like, so long as the adept observes the restriction on the highest-level maneuvers they know; an adept need not replace the old maneuver with one of the same level, and an adept can only swap a single maneuver for another one at any given level.

Resolving Martial Abilities
Once a martial adept has chosen a martial ability to initiate and used the appropriate initiation action, they must resolve its effects. Martial disciplines usually either apply

Attack: Many maneuvers include an attack of some kind. All offensive combat actions, including combat maneuvers and any effects that deal damage are considered attacks. Attack maneuvers can be resisted by saving throws, deal damage, or otherwise harm or hamper their targets. Strike maneuvers are most commonly attack maneuvers.

Bonus Types: Some martial abilities grant bonuses to ability scores, Armor Class, attack rolls, damage rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and many other variables. These bonuses are typed, and with the exception of dodge bonuses and racial bonuses, no two bonuses or the same type stack unless specifically specified otherwise. Martial abilities that do not identity a bonus are untyped, and therefore stack with all other modifies that apply to the same characteristics or attribute. If a maneuver or stance does not identity the type of bonus conferred, its effects stack with all other effects modifying the same characteristics or attribute.

Special Effects: Some maneuvers have unique, special effects that do not classify as attacks or bonuses. Such maneuvers describe how they function as part of the maneuver description.

Recovering Expended Maneuvers
When an encounter ends, a martial adept automatically recovers all maneuvers they expended during the encounter. Even a few moments out of combat is sufficient to refresh all maneuvers expended in the previous battle. For the purpose a long, drawn-out series of battles, if a character makes no attacks of any kind, initiates no maneuvers, and is not targeted by enemy attacks for 1 minute, they recover all expended maneuvers. If they cannot avoid attacking or being attacked for 1 minute, they cannot automatically recover their maneuvers.

Special Recovery Methods: Some special class abilities, feats, and prestige class features offer methods for a character to recover their maneuvers in combat. Such abilities list the conditions for which they can recover expended maneuvers.

Multiclass Martial Adepts
Like with other classes, multiclass martial adepts continue to increase in prowess with their techniques even when they venture out and take other paths. For each martial adept class, you can add half of another class’s level to your initiator level when determining maneuvers readied, maneuvers known, maximum maneuver level, and stances known. For example, a Monk 4 / Wizard 4 adds half of their Wizard level (2) to their Monk level when determining their initiator level. Likewise, the character adds half of their Monk level to their Wizard level (2) when determining their caster level (see magic).

Multiple Martial Adept Classes: If a martial adept multiclasses into multiple adept classes, each class maintains its own list of maneuvers readied, maneuvers and stances known, and maximum maneuver level.

Multiclassing into Prestige Classes: When a martial adept multiclasses into a prestige class that provides a martial ability progression, they can add the levels gained from that class to one of their martial adept classes to determine their initiator level with that class’s martial powers. If the martial adept has levels in multiple adept classes, they must choose one per level to apply the prestige class’s level to. Once chosen, this cannot be changed.

Martial Powers and Other Abilities
Some martial abilities have effects that produce supernatural effects, as described in the ability’s descriptor. Although such abilities are resolved as supernatural abilities (they cannot be used in an Antimagic Field, for example), martial abilities rarely interact with spells, powers, and other non-martial ability effects. Once a maneuver is initiated, its effect lasts only for the martial adept’s turn unless its description notes otherwise, giving an opponent little time to counter it. Note that some martial abilities, known as counter maneuvers, can be used to counter other martial abilities, and occasionally spells and powers. However, there are few spells and powers that can directly interfere with an adept that is performing a martial ability. It should be noted that if a character is unable to move or afflicted with one of the conditions listed above, their martial ability fails, even if the condition is the result of a spell or power.

Extraordinary or Supernatural Abilities: Martial maneuvers and stances are never spells. powers, spell-like abilities, or psi-like abilities. Unless the description of the specific maneuver or stance says otherwise, treat all maneuvers as extraordinary abilities. Thus, these abilities work fine in an Antimagic Field, a dead magic zone, or a Null Psionics Field. A maneuver or stance cannot be dispelled or counterspelled and initiating one does not provoke an attack of opportunity unless specifically stated otherwise. If a maneuver is overtly magical or otherwise uses a supernatural power source, it is noted as a supernatural ability in its description. In this case, the maneuver obeys all the standard rules for supernatural abilities.

Resolving Martial Abilities with other Abilities: Most martial abilities work as described, no matter how many other powers, spells, or effects happen to be operating in the same area or on the same subject. Whenever a maneuver or stance has a specific effect on other maneuvers, powers, or spells, its description explains the effect. Most martial adepts can only use one stance at a time, though high-leveled fighters can use two stances at once.

Stacking Effects: Martial abilities that provide bonuses or penalties to a creature’s attack or damage rolls, skill checks, Armor Class, or saving throws do not stack with other similarly typed bonuses unless the ability’s description specifically states otherwise.

Martial Ability Descriptions
The various martial abilities available to martial adepts are described by discipline that the martial ability belongs to. A discipline is a collection of martial maneuvers and stances that share a common origin, style, and theme in attack method. The description of each power follows a standard format, which is explained below.

Name: This entry is the name by which the maneuver is generally known. However, it's fairly common for various schools or traditions of martial adepts to bestow their own names on maneuvers and martial adepts should not be expected to know each of their maneuvers by its true name unless they were specifically taught by a master of that fighting school.

Martial Discipline: Each maneuver belongs to a unique martial discipline. The martial abilities in a discipline are loosely linked by common effects, philosophies, or functions. The second line of a maneuver or stance description provides the name of the relevant discipline, along with its type (See below). Just like maneuver names, the names of the martial disciplines widely vary from locale to locale; in fact, the term "discipline" is typically only used among Swordsages. Most of the martial adept classes don't even realize that they are following the Sublime Way, that their maneuvers and attacks are part of a secret, worldly tradition that would perplex even the most studious of Wizards. The disciplines available to a character are listed below:

  • Black Heron: A discipline of cruelty and fear, users of the Black Heron’s style specialize in taunts and insults to catch their foes off-guard. The Black Heron discipline’s key skill is Intimidate.
  • Blood Sage: The Blood Sage discipline was utilizes medical knowledge to deal fatal incisions and wounds to the adept’s victims. The Blood Sage discipline’s key skill is Heal.
  • Braggart Fox: Adepts of the Braggart Fox are boastful duelists that specialize in illusion and cunning over brute strength. The Braggart Fox discipline’s key skill is Bluff.
  • Dancing Leaf: Adepts of the Dancing Leaf discipline are masters of defense and teach the arts of dodging blows to any adept that wishes to learn of them. The Dancing Leaf discipline’s key skill is Escape Artist.
  • Desert Wind: The scorching power of the Desert Wind discipline allows an adept to harness the elemental forces of fire for one’s use. The Desert Wind discipline’s key skill is Survival.
  • Devoted Spirit: By utilizing utter devotion and cause, an adept of the Devoted Spirit becomes a divine conduit; able to utilize powerful divine effects through combat. The Devoted Spirit discipline’s key skill is Knowledge (Religion).
  • Diamond Mind: Presence of mind is the most important trait of the Diamond Mind discipline; perfect concentration allows for devastating strikes. The Diamond Mind discipline’s key skill is Autohypnosis.
  • Falcon's Eye: The keen eye of a Falcon’s Eye adept allows them to make extraordinarily accurate attacks with ranged weapons. The Falcon’s Eye discipline’s key skill is Perception.
  • Iron Heart: The Iron Heart discipline proclaims the use of extreme weapon skill and tactical finesse in order to fell foes. The Iron Heart discipline’s key skill is Martial Lore.
  • Napalm Rain: The bravados of the Napalm Rain discipline focus on flashy stunts and wicked tricks utilizing ranged weapons. The Napalm Rain disicpline’s key skill is Profession (Engineering).
  • Ocean Tempest: The fury of the ocean is an adept’s to command when they are a practitioner of the Ocean Tempest discipline, able to unleash devastating gouts of water and thunder on their foes. The Ocean Tempest discipline’s key skill is Swim.
  • Poised Lotus: The sinister techniques of the Poised Lotus focus an adept’s abilities upon the art of unmercifully slaying one’s target with pin-point accuracy. The Poised Lotus discipline’s key skill is Sleight of Hand.
  • Sanguine Brand: Through vindictive and malicious practices, the adepts of the Sanguine Brand mark their victims in cruel ways to hinder their effectiveness in battle. The Sanguine Brand discipline’s key skill is Linguistics.
  • Setting Sun: A discipline focused on balance, adepts of the Setting Sun learn to utilize their foe’s strengths and turn it to weakness. The Setting Sun discipline’s key skill is Sense Motive.
  • Shadow Hand: The disciplines of the Shadow Hand favor the cover of the night and can use the darkness to quickly move about without detection. The Shadow Hand discipline’s key skill is Stealth.
  • Sidewinder Arrow: A trickster discipline, the Sidewinder Arrow focuses on defying all possible reality with unbelievable ranged attacks and tricky maneuvers. The Sidewinder Arrow discipline’s key skill is Perform.
  • Sleeping Goddess: The adepts of the Sleeping Goddess discipline use psionic manifestation to get the upper hand on their enemies. The Sleeping Goddess discipline’s key skill is Psicraft.
  • Soaring Dragon: Crafted by the dragonborne, the Soaring Dragon discipline is reserved for those who are able to participate in airborne combat. The Soaring Dragon discipline’s key skill is Fly.
  • Solaris Arcanum: An anciently old martial art; the adepts of the Solaris Arcanum discipline utilize powerful magic alongside their bladed attacks. The Solaris Arcanum discipline’s key skill is Spellcraft.
  • Stone Dragon: Using the might of the stony earth, adepts of the Stone Dragon discipline crush their foes with the weight of the world. The Stone Dragon discipline’s key skill is Climb.
  • Sundered Veil: Those who follow the way of the Sundered Veil believe that the best way to stop an enemy is by breaking them. The Sundered Veil discipline’s key skill is Disable Device.
  • Synchronized Souls: Practiced by those who fight to the death with bestial companions, adepts of the Synchronized Soul are able to unify their hearts with their greatest allies. The Synchronized Souls discipline’s key skill is Handle Animal.
  • Tiger Claw: The wild and barbaric adepts of the Tiger Claw discipline fight like savage beasts in a flurry of dual wielding attacks. The Tiger Claw discipline’s key skill is Acrobatics.
  • Twin Spirit: Martial adepts belonging to the Twin Spirit discipline specialize in mounted combat and fight as one with their mounts. The Twin Spirit discipline’s key skill is Ride.
  • White Raven: Psychology is the key to any combat, and adepts of the White Raven discipline take their place as generals and commands, inspiring their allies to greatness. The White Raven discipline’s key skill is Diplomacy.

Level: This entry follows the Discipline and gives the maneuver's level in relationship to Martial Adept classes.

Type: All martial abilities fall into one of five categories: boost, counter, stance, strike, or sublime power.

  • Boost Maneuver: A boost maneuver grants some type of bonus to its initiator for the duration of their turn. Initiating a boost always requires a swift action, allowing an adept to initiate it before unleashing another attack. Boosts are varied in their effects; some add bonuses to attack and damage rolls, some add special conditions to the adept’s attacks, while others provide unique and fantastic special effects. If a boost affects to an adept’s attacks, it applies to all attacks they make during the round they initiated it on, but its effects end at the end of the adept’s turn. A boost’s effects always apply for its entire duration no matter which weapon you wield during the round, even if you switch weapons. Each boost maneuver’s description outlines its unique effects. A boost does not have to modify a melee attack; it can provide a bonus on skill checks, to the adept’s speed, and so on, but such maneuvers are rare.
  • Counter Maneuver: A counter maneuver is a fast, usually defensive maneuver that an adept can use to foil their opponent's actions. Initiating a counter always requires an immediate action that is taken in response to a specific action or condition being met. Counter maneuvers can prevent attacks, counter attack enemies, and even negate some effects.
  • Stance: A stance is not a maneuver but a specific fighting method that an adept maintains from round to round. A stance applies its benefits to an adept for as long as they maintain their stance, and once the stance is assumed, it requires no action to maintain it unless a stance’s description states otherwise. Initiating a stance is a swift action, and after assuming a stance an adept immediately gains its benefit. Ending a stance requires no action and a stance automatically ends if the adept is unable to initiate any martial abilities because they cannot move or are affected by a specific combat condition (see above). Stances are considered maneuvers for the purpose of fulfilling prerequisites for learning higher-level maneuvers, or for qualifying for prestige classes or feats.
  • Strike Maneuver: A strike maneuver allows a special attack to be made. Initiating a strike maneuver is usually either a standard action or a full round action and most involve either an attack roll or a combat maneuver check. On a successful attack roll, the creature usually takes normal weapon damage, plus any additional effects of the strike maneuver. On a successful combat maneuver check, the creature usually suffers the normal penalties of that check, plus any additional effects of the strike maneuver. When initiating a strike maneuver, you use all combat modifiers normally, except in some situations where the maneuver will specify otherwise. Strike maneuvers can critically hit normally, and in some cases a critical hit grants additional benefits. Additional damage from a strike maneuver is not multiplied; it is treated as extra damage from any other special ability, such as precision damage or rending damage. Because strike maneuvers allow for a specific form of attack, an adept cannot benefit from any effect that grants the adept extra attacks while making a martial strike (such as the Haste spell). There are exceptions to this rule; for example, the special rule of the Shadow Hand discipline allows the adept to deal sneak attack damage in conjunction with their martial strikes. Using a martial strike does not count as a full round action, even if its initiation action is a full round action. Also, a martial adept cannot combine special attacks and combat maneuver checks, such as dirty tricks or bull rush attempts, with strike maneuvers. However, some martial maneuvers enable a character to make such special abilities more potent or even enable the adept to make those special attacks as part of their initiation.
  • Sublime Power Maneuver: Sublime power maneuvers allow for extremely unique special abilities to be used. They are not classified as boosts, counters, stances, or strikes, and initiating them differs from sublime power to sublime power. Very few maneuvers are classified as sublime powers, and they often have extremely unique effects.

Descriptor: Some martial abilities have special descriptors that further define them. These descriptors appear on the same line as the discipline of the maneuver. Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how a maneuver interacts with other effects and abilities.

  • Alignment Descriptors: Alignment descriptors show the alignment that the maneuver belongs to. A character cannot use a maneuver with an alignment descriptor if their alignment is opposed to that descriptor (evil characters cannot use [Good] maneuvers, for example). The alignment descriptors are: [Chaos], [Evil], [Good], and [Law].
  • Compulsion: The [Compulsion] descriptor describes a maneuver that forces its victim to do something against its will as a mental compulsion. Some creatures have defenses or immunity to compulsion effects.
  • Death: The [Death] descriptor marks a maneuver that causes a death effect. A maneuver with a death effect can potentially slay its target regardless of the number of hit points it has remaining and some creatures have defenses or immunity to death effects.
  • Fear: The [Fear] descriptor marks a maneuver that causes a fear effect. The [Fear] descriptor is always accompanied by the [Mind-Affecting] descriptor and will cause either the shaken, frightened, or panicked condition in its targets. [Fear] maneuvers usually stack their effects, progressing shaken to frightened and frightened to panicked unless noted otherwise.
  • Force: The [Force] descriptor is a special energy descriptor that marks a maneuver that deals force damage. [Force] effects ignore a wide variety of spell and psionic effects, as mentioned on the descriptions of individual spells and powers. The most notable among these are [Force] effect’s unique ability to affect incorporeal and ethereal creatures.
  • Elemental Descriptors: Elemental descriptors show the element that the maneuver utilizes. The element descriptors are: [Air], [Earth], [Darkness], [Fire], [Light], and [Water]. Note that [Fire] is considered as both an elemental descriptor and an energy descriptor.
  • Energy Descriptors: Energy descriptors show the type of energy that the maneuver utilizes. The energy descriptors are: [Acid], [Cold], [Electricity], [Fire], and [Sonic]. Note that [Sonic] maneuvers do not function in places where sound is suppressed.
  • Illusion: The [Illusion] descriptor designates a maneuver that uses supernatural effects similar to a spell from the Illusion school. A creature with defenses or immunity against illusion spells can apply them against maneuvers with the [Illusion] descriptor.
  • Language-Dependant: The [Language-Dependant] descriptor marks a maneuver that uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. The maneuver automatically has no effect on creatures that cannot hear or understand the language of the martial adept.
  • Mind-Affecting: The [Mind-Affecting] descriptor marks a maneuver that alters or affects a creature’s mental capacities. Maneuvers with the [Mind-Affecting] descriptor have no effect against mindless creatures without an Intelligence score.
  • Rend: The [Rend] descriptor designates a Tiger Claw maneuver that utilizes the Tearing Claws special rule. This descriptor notes a maneuver that can have rending damage added onto it; normally, martial maneuvers cannot be used in conjunction with special attacks such as rending.
  • Spirit: The [Spirit] descriptor designates a Devoted Spirit maneuver that utilizes the Aligned Spirit special rule. These maneuvers are treated as having an alignment descriptor of the same alignment as their spirit’s alignment ([Chaos], [Evil], [Good], or [Law]).

Prerequisite: Before learning a martial ability, an adept must meet its prerequisites, if it has any. Most high-leveled martial abilities require that a martial adept know a specific number of maneuvers from the same discipline; stances count as maneuvers for the purpose of meeting these prerequisites.

Initiation Action: This entry describes the type of action of action a martial adept must expend to activate a martial maneuver. In some cases, a martial adept initiates a maneuver, and its effect last for the rest of their turn (or beyond). Other maneuvers are instantaneous, lasting only as long as the action required to initiate. Reference the combat rules for more information on the rules involving individual action types.

Range: A maneuver's range indicates how far from the adept it can range. Standard ranges include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Personal: A maneuver with a range of personal only affects its initiator.
  • Touch: A maneuver with a range of touch affects a creature that the initiator directly touches. A touch maneuver that deals damage can critically hit just as a weapon can, although the maneuver’s damage is not multiplied on a successful critical hit.
  • Melee Attack: The maneuver affects any creature that the initiator makes a successful melee attack against.
  • Charge Attack: The maneuver affects any creature that the initiator makes a successful charge attack against.
  • Ranged Attack: The maneuver affects any creature that the initiator makes a successful ranged attack against.
  • Weapon’s Range: The maneuver can target any creature within the equipped weapon’s range. This means that the creature can hit with either a melee attack or a ranged attack, so long as the ability is within the melee weapon’s reach or one range increment of the ranged weapon.
  • Range Expressed in Feet: Some maneuvers have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet. The maneuver can be used against any creature within that given range, provided that the adept has line of sight and effect to the creature.

Targeting a Maneuver: As part of initiating a martial ability, an adept must select what their maneuver targets. The target can be either a specific creature or object or an area. This entry describes the maneuver's target or targets, its effect, or its area, as appropriate.

  • Target or Targets: Most maneuvers affect a specific creature or object (or more than one creature or object) that its initiator designates as their target or targets. The initiator must be able to see or touch the target, and they must specifically choose that target. Some maneuvers can be initiated only on willing targets, and an initiator can always willingly target themselves with a martial ability at any time. Unconscious characters are always considered willing, but a character that is conscious but immobilized or helpless is not automatically willing. Some maneuvers target their initiator (but they might confer an unusual ability to affect other creatures for the rest of their turn). If the target of a maneuver is "You", the initiator does not receive a save; they receive the benefit of the maneuver automatically as long as they meet any other requirements for initiating it successfully. Other maneuvers affect a creature or creatures that an initiator successfully hits with a melee attack, and some affect a creature that is successfully hit with a melee or ranged touch attack.
  • Area: Some maneuvers can affect an area. A maneuver's initiator might be able to choose the point where the maneuver's effect originates, but otherwise they don't usually control while creatures or objects an area maneuver effects.
  • Burst: A burst affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures the initiator can't see. It can affect creatures that have total cover from its point of origin. The default shape for a burst is a sphere.
  • Emanation: An emanation functions like a burst, except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin (often its source, or the initiator) for the duration of the maneuver.
  • Spread: A spread effect spreads out like a burst, but cam turn corners. The initiator selects the point of origin, and the effect spreads out a given distance in all directions.
  • Effect: Some maneuvers create something rather than affecting things that are already present. The maneuver's initiator must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear.

Line of Effect: Maneuvers that affect a target other than their initiator require line of effect. A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what an effect can affect. A solid barrier cancels a line of effect, but line of effect is not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight. An initiator must have a clear line of effect to any target that they initiate a maneuver against, or to any space in which they wish to create an effect at range (if their maneuver allows that). A burst of emanation effects only an area creature or objects to which it has a line of effect from its origin. An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a maneuver's line of effect.

Duration: A maneuver's duration indicates how long its effect lasts.

  • End of Turn: The maneuver's effect lasts until the end of the initiator's turn, then ceases to function.
  • Instantaneous: The effect of the maneuver comes and goes the instant the maneuver is initiated, though the consequences might be long-lasting. Most maneuvers fall in this category. An instantaneous maneuver always lasts for the length of the required action.
  • One-Round Durations: Some martial abilities’ durations are measured as 1 round. The maneuver's initiator gains the capability to perform whatever special effect or attack the maneuver permits on their turn. Immediately before their action in the round after they initiated the maneuver, its effect comes to an end.
  • Stance: This duration indicates that the ability is a stance, and therefore ends only when its initiator wills it to end, when they become unable to move, or when they fulfill a specific condition described in the stance's description.
  • Timed Duration: Many maneuvers last some number of rounds or minutes. When the time is up, the energy sustaining the effect fades, and the maneuver's effect ends.

Saving Throw: Some maneuvers with a special or supernatural effect that targets an enemy allow for a saving throw to avoid some or all of the effect. The saving throw line in a maneuver description defines which type of saving throw a maneuver allows.

  • DC: A maneuver's saving throw DC is always provided in the maneuver's description.
  • Negates: On a successful saving throw, the maneuver's special effects do nothing (melee damage is usually dealt as normal).
  • Partial: On a successful saving throw, the target(s) take a lesser effect then they would have if they failed the save (for example, taking damage instead of dying).
  • Half: On a successful saving throw, the target(s) takes half the normal amount of damage (rounded down).
  • None: Maneuvers with no saving throw line do not allow saving throws.

Spell/Power Resistance: Unlike spell descriptions or power descriptions, martial maneuvers don't have a spell resistance or power resistance entry. Since maneuvers are either extraordinary abilities or supernatural abilities, n
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:16 am

NOTES: This isn't just a complete reposting of the Tome of Battle rules. If you read through the rules, you will find changes. I'll try to compile them here in this post.

I also want to point out two things about the Martial Disciplines that are in this document (yes, every martial discipline that I have made or plan on making is listed in there). First thing you'll notice is that there are no overlapping Key Skills. This is intentional, I felt like the Key Skill was such a flavorful aspect of the discipline that they shouldn't share them across disciplines. This has lead to some major skill shuffling, but overall I feel like all of the choices are logical. Nevertheless, I want to address some choices that I'm sure I'll get yelled at for.

  • Desert Wind's key skill is Survival. The discipline's home temples are based in a Desert, and many poets refer to life as a "flame," whether they refer to it blazing brightly or snuffed out depends on the poem in question. Regardless, I felt there was significant imagery to use Survival as Desert Wind's key skill, and even after getting the Golden Polish, only one maneuver uses Survival anyway.
  • Iron Heart's key skill is Martial Lore. I thought that one made perfect sense, honestly. It also has almost no Saving Throw abilities to have to make use of that Intelligence modifier anyway (Maneuver DCs are always based on your key skill's related ability in Scrolls of Reshar).
  • Stone Dragon's key skill is climb. This is one I really debated with myself about, but I ended up accepting because of how climbing mountains can really bulk you up physically. I didn't like how Stone Dragon's key skill was Balance (now Acrobatics) and yet its Saving Throws were Strength based.
  • Diamond Mind's key skill is Autohypnosis. Since Concentration isn't a skill in Pathfinder, I thought Autohypnosis was a good alternative.

I think those were the big four that I knew people were going to be confused about. Tiger Claw uses Acrobatics, White Raven uses Diplomacy, Shadow Hand uses Stealth, Setting Sun uses Sense Motive, and Devoted Spirit uses Knowledge (Religion). Those are all either unchanged or make sense.

Another thing I wanted to add here is that if you look through the list of disciplines, you're bound to see some familiar names in it. Someone a lot more famous then I once said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and why reinvent the wheel? In most cases, almost all of these disciplines have been altered beyond their basic conception, but I need to give credit to the people who originally came up with these ideas. Not only will I do that in this post, but I am going to try to remember to give them credit in the actual disicpline's post as well. You can be on my butt about it if you like :D.

Black Heron: Originally by ErrantX

Blood Sage: Blood Sage was originally written by Pyrefiend

Braggart Fox: Called "Dancing Fox" by Nifft

Dancing Leaf: Original Dancing Leaf by TheDementedOne

Falcon's Eye: Falcon's Eye was originally created by Dspeyer

Napalm Rain: Originally called "Black Rain" by TheDementedOne.

Ocean Tempest: This discipline's original namer was Pair'OLostDice, but it also includes a lot of Fax's "Ocean Soul"

Poised Lotus: Originally called "Black Lotus" by Zachariah

Sidewinder Arrow: To be honest, I have no idea where this one came from. It's all about trick shots and the like, but I apparently didn't write down in my notes who inspired it. Weird.

Sleeping Goddess: Originally inspired by TheDementedOne, my version also takes influences from Yue_Ryong's "Bladed Soul"

Solaris Arcanum: This is a complete overhaul of my old Solaris Arcanum discipline, but it also includes a few ideas from pyrefiend's "Witch Razor"

Twin Spirit: Original Twin Spirit by TheDementedOne

Naturally, the following Nine Disciplines were originally created by Wizard's of the Coast's Tome of Battle, and you can find their original forms, as well as the 3.5 edition of these rules in the Tome of Battle

Desert Wind, Devoted Spirit, Diamond Mind, Iron Heart, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, White Raven

As far as I know, the following disciplines don't exist anywhere in any form yet:
Sanguine Brand (I posted this a while ago, but it was lost to the void :( ), Soaring Dragon, Sundered Veil (A complete flop of a discipline I did a while back that I am going to try and fix up), Synchronized Souls
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:49 pm

Moved from an inappropriate topic:

Golden-Esque wrote:I know this is more then what is in the Tome of Battle. I'm redoing those disciplines too, and while the exact number per level isn't set in stone (off the top of my head, Braggart Fox breaks the norm), each discipline ends up having in the ballpark of 40 maneuvers (I think it's 39 to be exact). I know you can only judge the disciplines based on what I already have up for the project, but there are two factors to keep in mind.

#1 - Unlike in base Tome of Battle, there is no action to refresh maneuvers. Maneuvers are a once-per-combat thing and they are done. There's a feat that lets you expend a readied maneuver to use an expended maneuver of lesser level, but that's about it.

#2 - The number of maneuvers readied and known were decreased across the board for most classes. You can realistically get the 9th level maneuver in a single discipline under the Scrolls of Reshar; again, I felt it was more important to get the disciplines up first.

DragoonWraith wrote:Oh. Well... ok. I can't say I like either change, but that's your prerogative. Impossible to really judge balance, then.

Increasing the number of options while simultaneously lowering the number that you can ultimately pick seems strange, though...

Golden-Esque wrote:Here's my logic, and you can tell me if you agree with it or not.

Scrolls of Reshar is designed with Pathfinder in mind. Pathfinder is internally designed to give Melee characters more power through options. I don't want the martial maneuver system to completely replace standard attacking or combat maneuvers for melee characters, because that's a huge part of Pathfinder.

The best way I can explain it is that the Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, and Rogue will be designed as if they had Ranger / Paladin spellcasting. Yeah, it's not super great, but it does allow for options. I will be including a Pathfinder update for the Swordsage that keeps the Tome of Battle's spirit of things; lots of maneuvers and lots of disciplines. Swordsages will be able to refresh their maneuvers mid-combat too; the design goal is that they'll be the the Wizards of Martial maneuvers.

Hrm, maybe it'll help if I put my design goals somewhere on this board so people know where I'm coming from with stuff.

DragoonWraith wrote:I don't think that Pathfinder succeeded in that goal, if, in fact, it actually was a goal (and some statements by the Pathfinder devs makes me doubt that this is the case), nor do I think that there's anything wrong with out-right replacing them with a far-superior system (namely Tome of Battle's). Tome of Battle is exceedingly well balanced, where Pathfinder is not. The replacement seems, to me, to be a good thing.

As I said, it's your prerogative, I just disagree. Values dissonance, I suppose. I don't think arguing the merits of various systems is productive; I doubt either of us are going to change our minds.

Golden-Esque wrote:I agree with you that Tome of Battle is well balanced within itself, but it still isn't very well balanced when placed alongside of 3.5 as a whole. This isn't the Tome of Battle's fault; the entire 3.5 system as a whole is to blame. I want my campaign to have multiple class mechanics that are reasonably well-balanced with each other. Perfect balance, in my opinion, is impossible but I'll keep on doing the best I can. In the meantime, I'll keep on trucking with my ideas and hopefully I'll have people like you and Draco Dei to slap me on the wrist along the way if I mess up too badly in putting everything together.

DragoonWraith wrote:(first off, I have no idea if you're interested in continuing this discussion or would rather get on with your homebrew; you're moderator of this sub-forum so feel free to delete/move my post if you'd rather not continue this discussion here)

Insofar as Tome of Battle is better than "Core melee" (namely, all melee that relies on the Core combat rules, not simply those classes that are presented in Core but also those in supplements that use no other sub-system: Knight, Scout, Ninja, etc.) and weaker than spellcasting or psionics, yes, it is not "well balanced" alongside 3.5 as a whole. But in that sense, such balance would be impossible, because balance with one side or the other would automatically be imbalanced with respect to the other.

Moreover, there is an external scale by which things can be judged - namely, how well classes deal with level-appropriate encounters and problems. This is generally done by comparing the class against monsters of a CR matching class level - which is problematic because CR is poorly done, but nonetheless it can be used as a metric against which classes might be judged. The "Core melee", then, is underpowered because it does not keep up with CR - there are myriad level-appropriate opponents against which they can do nothing. Meanwhile, spellcasters typically are overpowered because they can easily and without considerable danger overcome level-appropriate encounters.

The Tome of Battle classes, along with most Tier-3 classes, do a reasonable job of meeting level-appropriate encounters with appropriate difficulty - though there are certainly situations in which they would be unable to help without spellcaster assistance, there are far fewer than there are for "Core melee", and there are simultaneously few situations in which an Initiator will straight up "Win" an encounter the way a spellcaster often does.

Thus, the introduction of Tome of Battle essentially eliminates "Core melee" from the equation - they fall neatly in between the "Core melee" and the spellcasters in balance (and much closer than either to optimal balance as indicated by CR and/or Tier), but for the most part fulfill the same flavor and party roles as the "Core melee". In other words, Tome of Battle does nothing about the "ceiling" (Tier 1's) because that is well beyond the scope of the book, but it does raise the "floor", thereby greatly improving the balance of 3.5. Unless the "Core melee" is used (which in my opinion it should not be), but in that case complaining about Tome of Battle is silly since Tome of Battle in no way increases the gap between "floor" and "ceiling" - they were always on the "floor" and the "ceiling" has not been changed. There's just an alternative that's nicely in the middle.

In my opinion, which is admittedly based on only a cursory examination of the material and almost no play experience, Pathfinder does not dramatically change these dynamics. Certainly, the Tiers as a concept are still very much valid in Pathfinder, even if individual classes may have moved somewhat in Tier (and, from what I've seen, for the most part, they haven't - the Fighter is a relatively higher Tier 5, but still a Tier 5, while the Cleric and Wizard are still certainly Tier 1's). The "Core melee" classes are still underpowered and the spellcasters are still overpowered, and Tome of Battle still sits nicely in between them. Tome of Battle still accurately replaces many of the "Core melee" classes, and does so in a way that is neat, elegant, flexible, and balanced.

Finally, my opinion is that your changes, especially the elimination of the Recovery mechanic, greatly nerfs Tome of Battle (in my opinion, pulling them away from the optimal balance point that they are very near to), and also completely changes the way they are played. Initiators are wonderful because they are aggressive, eager to use all of their maneuvers as rapidly as possible because there is little incentive to ration them (and in the Crusader's case, incentive to use them now), which is entirely different from the playstyle of casters, who are almost always holding back (due to daily spell slots). This, more than anything else, is what differentiates Tome of Battle maneuvers from spellcasting, and without that I fear that the "meh, it's spellcasting with swords" complaint about Tome of Battle will be true. In addition, where normally Tome of Battle serves to decrease the distance between "floor" and "ceiling" by replacing "Core melee" with better versions, your version aims to not do that at all, which means you maintain the imbalance inherent in 3.P.

I hope you understand that I'm not trying to bash what you're doing or suggest that there's something wrong with trying to balance Tome of Battle with Pathfinder's "Core melee", I'm just explaining why I personally don't like that tack. And again, there will be absolutely no hard feelings of any kind if you feel I'm derailing your thread and you exercise your moderation rights - I recognize that this may be off-topic and unhelpful, but since you did not make it entirely clear that you wished this line of discussion stopped, I'll continue until you do so.

Moved our previous discussion into a more suitable place.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:53 pm

In all honesty, I haven't even started the classes much more then a basic concept. I'd like to hear what you think about meshing the Tome of Battle and Pathfinder Core together, DragoonWraith.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby DragoonWraith » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:56 pm

Giving the PF Core classes some appropriate maneuver progression, possibly merging Paladin/Crusader, Fighter/Warblade, and Monk/Swordsage, or just out-right replacing the Core would be where I'd go. Ultimately, for whatever improvements PF gave the melee, they still suffer for existing in the same paradigm as they were in 3.5 - namely, relying on full-attacks, having little ability to contribute more than sheer HP damage.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:15 pm

DragoonWraith wrote:Giving the PF Core classes some appropriate maneuver progression, possibly merging Paladin/Crusader, Fighter/Warblade, and Monk/Swordsage, or just out-right replacing the Core would be where I'd go. Ultimately, for whatever improvements PF gave the melee, they still suffer for existing in the same paradigm as they were in 3.5 - namely, relying on full-attacks, having little ability to contribute more than sheer HP damage.

My martial classes looked something like this:

Psychic Warrior

On this list, the Magus and Psychic Warrior are keeping their spell / power progressions while the Paladin and Ranger are losing theirs. I think I'm going to reserve the "bad" maneuver progression for Magus and Psychic Warrior. They'll have no way to refresh maneuvers and have less maneuvers then others.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby DragoonWraith » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:26 pm

OK, for the Magus and the PsyWar (possibly the Paladin; personally I like the idea of a Paladin as a somewhat-lesser Crusader with a tiny bit of Divine spellcasting on top), that makes sense. I might consider some way of using spell slots/power points to refresh a maneuver (Psionic Renewal already exists in Tome of Battle, but if a Psy War is going to have his own maneuver progression maybe he should get that feat for free/it should become a unique class feature).

Actually, I'm semi-tempted to do a write-up on that Paladin; have you had specific plans for the Paladin yet?
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:06 pm

DragoonWraith wrote:OK, for the Magus and the PsyWar (possibly the Paladin; personally I like the idea of a Paladin as a somewhat-lesser Crusader with a tiny bit of Divine spellcasting on top), that makes sense. I might consider some way of using spell slots/power points to refresh a maneuver (Psionic Renewal already exists in Tome of Battle, but if a Psy War is going to have his own maneuver progression maybe he should get that feat for free/it should become a unique class feature).

Actually, I'm semi-tempted to do a write-up on that Paladin; have you had specific plans for the Paladin yet?

You're welcome to write up whatever you like. My only request is for you to try to base it off of the Pathfinder Paladin :). If you want to make it for yourself and put it in the d20 forums or your forums ... well I don't have much control over that, but I'll take whatever help I can get ^_^.

EDIT: I think I have the Devoted Spirit discipline's reduex done as well. I'll try to get it up for tomorrow for you incase you want to use it.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby DragoonWraith » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:08 pm

I'll look at it, and of course I'll use PF Paladin; it's supposed to be pretty good (I really like the Smite Evil remake), while the 3.5 one sucked.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Golden-Esque » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:30 pm

DragoonWraith wrote:I'll look at it, and of course I'll use PF Paladin; it's supposed to be pretty good (I really like the Smite Evil remake), while the 3.5 one sucked.

Awesome! I'll keep posting and making martial disciplines in the meantime. I just got done formatting Devoted Spirit as of this post.
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Re: [Rules] Martial Abilities

Postby Amechra » Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:44 pm

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