Making use of Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords

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Hey everyone, I'm going to be getting involved in a new campaign and one of the players will be completely new to table-top RPGs. I'm actually passing off the DM torch on this one and am going to be a player again for a while, and the DM for this campaign is going to be suggesting to this new player that he select a fighter. Now, I normally have a policy of limiting the game strictly to the core books when new players are coming along, so as to avoid option paralysis and other matters of over-complication.

But a couple of the players at the table are going to be playing some comparatively unique set-ups. Someone's going to be playing a half-dwarf monk, and I'm going to be playing either a hexblade with some blackguard levels, or an eldritch disciple building off focused necromancer and warlock, eventually going into hellfire warlock and archmage. No binder. Which brings me to my point. This new player is very, very intelligent, as in he's actually a teacher, and in his spare time he does things like analyze Shakespere (Spelling.) and close reads other literature.

Without a lot of things from other supplements, fighters generally suffer from EFBOS in a hurry, and this guy will need options to keep him entertained, and I wan't his first D&D experience to be a positive one. Now, I'm familiar with Tome of Battle, but I want to know what, if any, would be the best class to simulate martial skill and capability while providing entertaining options that rewards good play and smart thinking, that would also be new-player friendly.

 Well, if you're using ToB, the Warblade is the updated Fighter... None of the ToB classes are particularly tactically difficult to run since most of the maneuvers are just attacks that occasionally have interesting effects. How he plays will depend a bit on which styles he chooses his manevers from, but other than that the Warblade is just a fighter. Most of the complexity, just like the rest of 3.5, is in the choices of feats and weapons made at character creation. Being a class that uses INT as a secondary ability and having twice as many skill points per level as the fighter, the warblade will have a significantly better selection of skills than a fighter of the same level.

 Alternately, the Crusader is sort of a paladin if the party primarily just needs a tank/defender sort of character rather than specifically a fighter. The maneuver recovery mechanism is a bit more complex than the Warblade since they can never be sure just which maneuvers you'll have available, and balancing their Steely Resolve delayed damage pool and Furious Counterstrike damage bonus add a bit more round-to-round complexity.

 The swordsage is more of a secondary combatant/skill monkey rather than a tank, somewhere between the ranger and the rogue, but it does offer a lot of options and can be played extremely tactically depending on which styles you pick. (I played a swordsage/swashbuckler using a spiked chain and Shadow Hand teleports, and he was everywhere, smacking everything, at will...)


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