Excerpts 08/02/2006


Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords



By Richard Baker, Frank Brunner, Joseph D. Carriker

Skilled combatants often find that discipline combined with training is the key to a long life -- and a great battle. Take a peek at some of the latest combat options your martial-minded character can implement in our Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords excerpts. In this book, both players and Dungeon Masters can find a slew of new options for characters, including feats; prestige classes that build on the disciplines included in the tome; new magic items and spells; and new monsters and organizations. The excerpts below include a brief section of the Introduction, the warblade, a table showing you what feats are in the book, some information about the Iron Heart discipline, and the item called Supernal Clarity.

Selections from Iron Heart

The Iron Heart discipline focuses on pure weapon skill. Its students learn to complete fighting maneuvers that border on the supernatural. The Iron Heart's preferred weapons are the bastard sword, dwarven waraxe, longsword, and two-bladed sword. Its key skill is Balance, because body control, good footing, and impeccable timing are important to completing Iron Heart maneuvers.

Absolute Steel
Iron Heart (Stance)
Level: Warblade 3
Prerequisite: One Iron Heart maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Stance

You shift your weight to the back of your feet and hold your blade carefully forward at the ready. Your muscles twitch slightly as you prepare to dodge the next attack you face.

The absolute steel stance allows you to enhance your mobility and speed. You move quickly, keep a sharp eye on your enemies, and are ready to instantly sidestep any incoming attacks.

While you are in this stance, you gain a +10-foot enhancement bonus to your speed. If you move at least 10 feet during your turn, you gain a +2 dodge bonus to AC until the beginning of your next turn.

Disarming Strike
Iron Heart (Strike)
Level: Warblade 2
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Melee attack
Target: One creature

You chop at your foe's hand, causing a grievous injury and forcing him to drop his weapon.

This maneuver allows you to combine a disarm attempt with a normal attack. You make a single melee attack as part of this strike. If this attack hits and deals damage, you can also attempt to disarm your opponent (PH 155). This disarm attempt does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor is there any risk that your foe can disarm you.

Exorcism of Steel
Iron Heart (Strike)
Level: Warblade 3
Prerequisite: One Iron Heart maneuver
Initiation Action: Standard action
Range: Melee attack
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 minute
Saving Throw: Will half

You attack, striking not your foe, but his weapon, sending a shockwave up his arm that leaves him unable to strike with full force.

Your mastery of the Iron Heart style has taught you much about the power within a blade, and you can use this knowledge to not only enhance your own ability but also to deprive others of that power.

When you initiate this maneuver, you attack your opponent's weapon (PH 158). This attack does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If you succeed, your foe takes a -4 penalty on melee damage rolls for 1 minute. The wielder of the weapon can attempt a Will save (DC 13 + your Str modifier) to halve this penalty.

You can use this maneuver only against manufactured weapons. You cannot use it against natural weapons.

Iron Heart Surge
Iron Heart
Level: Warblade 3
Prerequisite: One Iron Heart maneuver
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: See text

By drawing on your mental strength and physical fortitude, you break free of a debilitating state that might otherwise defeat you.

Your fighting spirit, dedication, and training allow you to overcome almost anything to defeat your enemies. When you use this maneuver, select one spell, effect, or other condition currently affecting you and with a duration of 1 or more rounds. That effect ends immediately. You also surge with confidence and vengeance against your enemies, gaining a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls until the end of your next turn.

Lightning Recovery
Iron Heart (Counter)
Level: Warblade 4
Prerequisite: Two Iron Heart maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 immediate action
Range: Personal
Target: You

Your foe twists out of the way of your initial attack, but your weapon becomes a blur as you reverse direction and strike at him again with lightning speed. In the blink of an eye, you complete your attack and resume your defensive posture.

This maneuver embodies the ethos of speed and energy that the Iron Heart tradition teaches. If one of your melee attacks misses, you can initiate this maneuver to reroll that attack roll with a +2 bonus.

Mithral Tornado
Iron Heart (Strike)
Level: Warblade 4
Prerequisite: Two Iron Heart maneuvers
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Melee attack
Target: All adjacent opponents

Your weapon becomes a blur of motion as you swing it in a tight arc over your head. Once you build up enough speed, you explode into a sweeping attack that chops into the enemies around you.

When you initiate this strike, you make a melee attack against every opponent adjacent to you. Resolve each attack separately. You gain a +2 bonus on each of these attacks, which are otherwise made at your highest attack bonus.

Punishing Stance
Iron Heart (Stance)
Level: Warblade 1
Initiation Action: 1 swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Stance

You chop down violently with your weapon, lending extra force to your blows. These attacks come at a cost, as your enemies slash at your undefended legs and flanks.

You hold your weapon overhead, allowing you to chop down with superior force. However, this fighting stance leaves you vulnerable to an opponent's attacks. Only an initiate of the Iron Heart tradition can manage the perilous balance between trading attack power for defense. A lesser warrior would leave himself nearly helpless to resist an opponent's attacks.

While you are in this stance, you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage with all melee attacks. You also take a -2 penalty to AC, because this fighting stance emphasizes power over a defensive posture.

Steel Wind
Iron Heart (Strike)
Level: Warblade 1
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Melee attack
Target: Two creatures

You swing your weapon in a broad, deadly arc, striking two foes with a single, mighty blow.

Through a combination of sheer power and unmatched talent, you make an attack that injures multiple opponents. As you initiate this strike, you make two melee attacks, each against a different foe that you threaten. Resolve each attack separately.

Steely Strike
Iron Heart (Strike)
Level: Warblade 1
Initiation Action: 1 standard action
Range: Melee attack
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round; see text

You focus yourself for a single, accurate attack, shrugging off your opponent's blows and ignoring the need for defense as you make your assault.

The Iron Heart discipline teaches focus, allowing you to engage and defeat one opponent at a time. Your other enemies mean nothing to you as you press your attack.

You make a single melee attack as part of this strike. You gain a +4 bonus on the attack roll. All opponents other than the one you attacked gain a +4 bonus on attack rolls against you for 1 round.

Wall of Blades
Iron Heart (Counter)
Level: Warblade 2
Initiation Action: 1 immediate action
Range: Personal
Target: You

Your weapon sways back and forth in your hand, ready to block incoming blows. With the speed of a thunderbolt, you clash your weapon against your foe's blade as he attempts to attack.

Your weapon mastery transforms your blade into an extension of your arm, allowing you to wield it with the speed and timing needed to make a precise block.

When an enemy makes a melee or ranged attack against you, you can initiate this counter to oppose that attack by making an attack roll with any melee weapon you are holding. Use the higher of your AC or your attack roll as your effective AC against the incoming attack. You can't use this maneuver if you are denied your Dexterity bonus to AC against your attacker. You can decide to use this ability after you learn the result of your opponent's attack.

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