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.
Supernal Clarity(Diamond Mind)
Supernal Clarity is a perfectly balanced rapier made of glistening mithral. Its grip is tightly wrapped with dark blue leather.
Nonlegacy Game Statistics: +1 rapier; Cost 2,820 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Omen: Each time Supernal Clarity is drawn, time seems to slow for a split second. This momentary trick of perception doesn't provide any benefit or hindrance to the wielder.
The blade known as Supernal Clarity was brought to the Temple of the Nine Swords by Reshar, the first true master of the Sublime Way. Though some martial adepts curse the sword's name, claiming that lust for this blade initiated the downfall of the temple, all know in their hearts that a weapon is merely the extension of its wielder and can never be blamed for its use -- or its misuse. (DC 15)
Kaziir-Thet's theft of Supernal Clarity proved to be the beginning of the end of the golden age for the Temple of the Nine Swords. Why the rakshasa prince stole that particular sword was widely discussed, but the truth was never really known because the thief was never brought to justice. Some say that the rakshasa's crime forever tainted the sword's power, but more open minds wonder if the weapon was meant to be claimed in such a manner. After all, does action without hesitation not capture the essence of this blade? (DC 18; Act of Audacity)
No human hand crafted Supernal Clarity; it was created on the Astral Plane by a githyanki swordsmith named Veselka, using a dragonfire-fueled forge. Though she had already crafted many fine magic blades, Veselka regarded this one as her most elegant creation. Despite its simplicity of appearance, the swordsmith knew that this blade -- which bore no name at the time -- was destined for greatness.
Only by besting its wielder, one of the most famous warblades ever known to the githyanki race, did Reshar prove his worthiness to take the blade from its home plane. Veselka never gave up hope that she might see the blade again, and while she mourned its loss every day of her life, she had always known that it could not reach its full potential unless she gave it up. (DC 25; Forge of Dragonfire)
Many long years after the battle that scattered the Nine Swords across the world, Supernal Clarity came into the possession of a humble swordsage named Radigan. Though the blade was already a weapon of great power, its wielders had always sensed that it concealed some hidden strengths. Throughout the years that he walked the lands with it, Radigan searched long and hard for the secret that would unlock this last reservoir of power, but he found no sign. Then, on a whim, Radigan made his way to the Astral Plane, hoping that some descendant of the blade's creator might still survive. To his great surprise, Veselka was still working her eternal forge, laboring endlessly to repeat her greatest achievement. Awed to stand in the presence of such a revered swordsmith, Radigan unhesitatingly offered to return Supernal Clarity to her. "I have proven myself incapable of learning its final secrets," he said, "so must I be unworthy to wield this great blade." Veselka smiled at the naïve adept's words, and though it tore at her heart to do so, she declined the great gift that Radigan offered. She knew that her time with the blade had ended a lifetime ago, and that she had wasted every day since in a futile pursuit. Instead, she asked to accompany Radigan to the ruins of the Temple of the Nine Swords to pay homage to Reshar, the blade's greatest wielder. The swordsage agreed, not realizing that he was accompanying Veselka on her final journey.
When the githyanki arrived at the temple and met Reshar, her life's purpose had been fulfilled. A moment later, she slumped to the floor and died quietly. Her life, which in truth had ended when Reshar took the blade away, was now rightly over, and her spirit was free. (DC 31; An End to Desire)
Three rituals are required to unlock all the abilities of Supernal Clarity.
Act of Audacity: You must steal Supernal Clarity from a wielder whose Challenge Rating exceeds your character level. If you find the blade unguarded, you must first ensure that it finds worthy hands before you can unlock its powers. Cost: 1,500 gp. Feat Granted: Least Legacy (Supernal Clarity).
Forge of Dragonfire: You must endure the fiery breath weapon of a hostile dragon whose Challenge Rating is at least equal to your character level. (Though most wielders choose a red dragon, any true dragon with a breath weapon that deals fire damage satisfies this prerequisite.) Cost: 13,000 gp. Feat Granted: Lesser Legacy (Supernal Clarity).
An End to Desire: You must travel to the Forge of Veselka on the Astral Plane. There you must spend 24 hours in prayer and meditation. Whether or not the forge is still occupied (or operating) is up to the DM. Cost: 39,000 gp. Feat Granted: Greater Legacy (Supernal Clarity).
Supernal Clarity is best suited for a swordsage or a warblade, though any character can meet the requirements by 5th or 6th level.
Supernal Clarity Wielder Requirements
Base attack bonus +3
Legacy Weapon Abilities
All the following are legacy abilities of Supernal Clarity.
Intimidating Strike (Ex): When you first unlock the legacy of Supernal Clarity, you gain a fragment of knowledge from the Diamond Mind discipline. At 5th level, you can use the sapphire nightmare blade maneuver (see page 65) five times per day, as if you knew it. If you already know sapphire nightmare strike, you gain a +2 bonus on your Concentration check made while using the maneuver.
Diamond Strike (Su): Beginning at 7th level, you gain a small fraction of the insight shared by all Supernal Clarity's previous wielders. You gain a +1 insight bonus on any attack roll made as part of a Diamond Mind strike delivered with Supernal Clarity.
Psychic Poise (Su): Supernal Clarity hones your mental clarity to such an extent that it can actually guide your physical movements. At 8th level, you can choose to make a Concentration check in place of a Balance check three times per day. You must make this choice before attempting the check.
Haste (Su): Beginning at 11th level, you can tap into the inherent speed held within Supernal Clarity. You can use haste (self only) for 1 round as a swift action. This ability is usable up to five times per day. Caster level 10th.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): As a wielder of Supernal Clarity, you learn to be ready for battle at all times. Beginning at 13th level, you cannot be caught flat-footed, and you react to danger before your senses would normally allow you to do so. See the barbarian class feature (PH 26).
Freedom of Movement (Sp): Losing control of his own body is every warrior's worst nightmare, but Supernal Clarity grants you respite from that fear. Starting at 16th level, you can cast freedom of movement on yourself once per day as an immediate action. This ability functions as the spell, except that the duration is 1 minute. Caster level 10th.
Time Stop (Sp): When you unlock the final legacy power of Supernal Clarity at 20th level, you gain the ability to move so quickly that time seems to halt in place. Once per day on command, you can use time stop as the spell. Caster level 20th.
Table 6-3: Supernal Clarity
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