I tend not to find the level 17-20 to be the real differentiator... I've almost never played at those levels. But the standard build gets 1 level 9 maneuvers and replacing the Crusader levels by Warblade will get you 2 more... The standard build also aims for some of the reliability another of your builds (your, as in your group's) went for.
One of the selling points of the Meditant are that its tricks come inline earlier (Psy Meditation at level 5, Combat Brute at level 12). Obviously one reaps the consequences later on with the loss of Dual Stance at level 20.
I also like Swordsage a lot, but don't forget the date: this was 2006. Now, JJ used to be quite opinionated so maybe he still thinks the swordsage sucks...
The Meditant seems more similar to the Inevitable Nightmare to be honest.
Oddly, I hadn't seen the Meditant until reasonably recently - well after the Nightmare was designed. The similarity is purely coincidental, even if it is rather eerie. We seem to have built VERY similar characters independently.
The similarity between Dream Blade here is in part because Dream Blade was named because it's a counter to the Nightmare (and it's a kalashtar) - one of the "tone it downs" if you prefer. The two are clearly related - and the meditant is somewhere between the two, as a common ancestor. In the same sort of way that all uberchargers are descendents of the Lancer.
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.
[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling) [TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme) [AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class) [RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme) [AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility) [TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC) [TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods) [TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability) [AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme) [AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage) [TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme) [AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme). [TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme) [RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management) [SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum) [RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt) [AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder) [RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard) [RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster) [RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout) [AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum) [AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme) [DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x) [AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB)) [RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive) [AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork) [TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support) [DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility) [AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt) [RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical) [RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical) [TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist) [RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme) [AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity) [TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)
Okay, I apologize. I just don't have a showcase ready and stuff has been piling on this one weekend.
As Tempest is still occupied, I'll make up for it with three showcases by next Friday. I'm tired of teasing you guys with these builds, so I might as well toss them at you all at once. The Psycarnum Warrior will definitely follow the Evasion Tank.
I've been looking at and setting up a character with this build, and I found what I believe is a stumbling block.. (Which could easily be me missing or misreading an important part.)
You listed ability scores as 16/12/14/14/10/8.. Thusly a 10 wisdom. Problem is, Psychic Meditation has a 13 wisdom requirement for selecting the feat. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't having 'argh' moments trying to fit the thing together to the elite spread (15/14/13/12/10/8). It'd be awesome if you could poke this and let me know if I'm wrong.. and make suggestions on how to best restructure for starting at level 6 and the elite spread in active play. First thought is honestly to figure out what can be swapped around to get psychic meditation into the build by 6 and the other bit delayed till 9 without buggering things too badly.
Regardless, nifty build that makes me cringe to even think of letting Tome of Battle stuff into my own games.
Nice catch, you're absolutely right. I missed that when originally writing the build and of all the really well educated and informed optimizers that have been over this build it's been missed up until now.
As far as cringing at bringint Tome of Battle into your game, don't. A player who can create and understand this build can create and understand a FAR more powerful Wizard and ruin your game. They won't if they're a good player. Any and all source material really comes down to how it's used and or abused.
This build's not abusive in most games. It may be considered abusive if your DM doesn't understand the system very well and puts out monsters they think are tough. Anything that uses good maneuverability or concealment or worse yet both defeats this builds primary attack strategy at least for a few rounds before his party can get you by it.