View Full Version : Tactical warrior questions

11-16-2012, 04:32 AM
Okay... so I play in a regular d&d 3.5 group with some friends.
Earlier we have been playing some high powered games, with fun rp and lots of hack and slash.... and a cleric that could do nothing but heal all fight, cause we just run in and bash, no thoughts no tactics no nothing.

This time we decided to do a low magic campaign, though we havent decided exactly what that means :confused:

We run shifting dm's meaning i run a plot, then the next person takes over.
The dm decides whether to run his toon as a npc or send him off on another errand.

Currently the group is at 2nd level
Rogue styled as a ninja dual wielding short swords
Fighter styled as a samurai with a bastard sword
Fighter with shield and monkey gripping large bastard sword
Scout/ranger with a bow
A cleric that once again seems to be a healing battery more than anything
And then me.....

Now i want to do something different than your standard fighter damage dealer.
Been thinking about a trip expert with a spiked chain, Hold the Line feat and Defensive Throw feat.
Also thought about the warblade from Tome of Battle i think it is, with some weapon and shield
Lastly I'm kind of settling on the warblade with shield, monkey gripping spiked chain, using hold the line and improved trip feat.

After this wall of text, a few questions:
Is it possible to make a Trip as part of a regular attack of opportunity (f.ex. on a person moving through a threatened square) ?
Any other suggestions for a better tactical melee weapon than the spiked chain (no home made weapons please) ?
Would it be beneficial to go mix warblade / fighter to get some feats and special stuff or just go full one of the classes, and which then ?
Can i incorporate one of the special attacks a warblade gets, requiring single action, in a full attack ?
Any other suggestions (apart from convincing the rest of the group to go more tactical than making sure we flank) ?

Thanks for good advice in advance

11-16-2012, 03:58 PM
it seems that you are settled on a trip / battlefield control type. i might have another suggestion, but i will save it for after your questions.

trip attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialAttacks.htm#trip) on an AoO (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/attacksOfOpportunity.htm)...: as you can see from the rules referenced in the links, an AoO is a single melee attack. a trip attack is also a single melee (touch) attack. therefore, you can already do this as is. on a full attack, if you have 3 attacks available, you could attempt to disarm the enemy in front of you for your first attack, throw a dagger at an enemy threatening your ally, and attempt to trip the enemy on the other side of you, all in one round. and if you get just a little bit fancy with your descriptions, it becomes much more cinematic and 'rp'-esque... and therefore, fun.

tactical weapons:
the spear (with the right feats) can be surprisingly effective at both up close and reach. if you can convince your dm to allow quarterstaff feats to crossover to spear (which, really, they should anyway) it opens up more options.
the bow (with the right options) can be not only a ranged weapon, but also a melee weapon, and even a line attack.
the spiked chain is a really good tactical weapon the way the rules in 3.x are written. that is why it shows up in so many trip-op threads. one may also wish to consider the chain whip if you are allowed to use all official material (ie: non-updated 3.0 stuff) to combine with the lasher for extra fun.

multiclass: it depends on what you want to accomplish. non initiator classes count for 0.5 per level for purposes of selecting ToB options. so a couple of levels of fighter will only drop you one initiator level, and net you two feats, full bab, and good fort saves. it is a viable option if your particular build needs some more feats. ToB classes can hold their own, and be quite fun to describe.

combine actions: a standard action is not compatible with a full attack action in the same round, normally. but see the belt of battle in the MIC. and that simply lets you perform extra actions in the same round which in effect would be = take full attack, then take warblade action. (or warblade action first, then full attack).

suggestions: in reality, the only way to get the players to use tactics, if they are not already doing so, is to have the dm use it on them first, or have other players use it and they see that it works. that is, if the individuals/group in question is capable of tactics. not everyone is good at it - which is important to keep in mind. also, with the numerous options available in 3.x, tactics can be challenging to evolve. after all, it starts with your build options.

but in any case, if the dm has some nps who are good enough to do a ranged disarm, some battle field control, some tripping and/or sundering, some grappling and bull rushing, the party will wise up fast. after all, if the npcs can do it, so can the party. Also, if a player makes good use of it: tripping opponents so that other party members get bonuses to pound on them, grappling an enemy caster to keep them from casting spells, disarm and sunder attempts... the rest of the group will pick up on it. especially if you can fire off snappy (cheese optional) one liners along with the action, even if they are all stolen from books or movies. look for environmental advantages too. swing on stuff. drop marbles on the ground. roll barrels at enemies. drop chandeliers on heads. upend tables. be the fun.

my alternate suggestion: i'm personally fond of a psywar/athasian soulknife/soulbow to give me a mix of manifesting (casting), ranged, and melee options. it is an 80/20 melee/caster type mix. most often the manifesting options are for self buffs. especially if you take the athasian soulknife and soulbow as soon as possible. mix in illumine soul if the campaign is undead heavy.

11-17-2012, 03:46 AM
Thanks for the input Nijineko.

Havent really read that much up on the warblade yet, so hadnt read the non-initiator part, thanks for clarifying.
Will take a look at your psywar idea too.
Not sure what book MIC is though ?
Yeah i was a bit set on the tripper, hence the reach trip weapon, combined with Hold the Line and Defensive Throw should give me a lot of options for tripping.
The quarterstaff -> spear feat thingy should be handled with the first level warblade ability weapon aptitude as i read it.

And for the tactics part, I'm going to gm at som point.... bring the kobolds :D

11-17-2012, 11:56 PM
MIC = Magic Item Compendium.

don't forget the utility of enlarge and similar effects (wu-jen: giant size spell) on reach (and reach weapons in most cases).... get it via magic item if a caster is not handy.

for a very non-standard tripping build, go with master of the unseen hand (comp war) and try to secure a ring of telekinesis. being able to use your primary casting stat to determine your base attack bonus for telekinesis, and getting a class feature enabling full attack using said virtual BAB, and THEN going and tripping four times per round at long range​, is an effective way of saying, "and STAY down." ^^

not to mention being able to grapple, bull rush, and disarm (and attack them with their own weapon) all at said long range can be very scary for the party, especially if they can't see the MotUH right away.

11-27-2012, 09:48 AM
Low magic: any amount of magic presence between real-world and Lord of the Rings amounts.

More tactical: players do what works. For example, in Battlefield 3, players charge straight into enemy territory hoping to pull the trigger or knife faster than their enemies. Stupid, but it works. You'll get this behavior in D&D as well, so long as it works. So +1 to Niji: use tactics on the players first. Make them wonder if there's a Better way.

One way to do this is to give them an overwhelming opponent, who has a weakness. Like, Hhorvath the giant wears impenetrable armor over his whole body, except for his head. So when you trip him, his head becomes reachable. And since he'll be strong enough to resist trips, the party will have to assist their best tripper, instead of making useless attacks. (Hhorvath wears a Buckler of Arrow Protection, conveniently enough.)

Tactics can take several levels, too:
Personal: create conditions that make defeating your enemy easier, or increase your survivability. Disarm him. Blind him. Stay outside his range. Keep your guard up until he's vulnerable (full defense until he drops his guard).
Warparty: get your team to help out. Flank enemies. Lure into ambushes. Watch each other's backs. Use complimentary weapons (missiles in back, polearms in the middle, tower shields in front).
Battlefield: every fight occurs on a battlefield (unless you're one of the weirdo psions). Take higher ground. Use cover. Put obstacles in the enemy's way. Fight in the dark, if you can still see.
Information: the best fight is the one you can win without bloodshed. Talk your enemies down. Pay them off. Get them to fight your enemies for you. Hold their children hostage.

So, Shamblez, maybe you can get your co-players to try a different type of tactic, if one or more don't work.

11-27-2012, 12:12 PM
don't forget, the players are going to be trying to make personal armor out of the giants armor. so make sure you take the spoils of combat into account for current and future encounters.

and psions are also fighting on the battlefield. or if they are smart, at a short-out-of-reach-nearby spot, just like the wizard. they removed the whole "mental only" combat (finally) when 3.0 converted to 3.5.

in my opinion, a mental only combat should still operate at the same time scale, and only between mentally enabled opponents.

dmmike makes some excellent suggestions.

perhaps you could post a few past encounters or planned-for-the-future encounters (if the players don't hang out here) and we could make suggestions?

12-27-2012, 05:11 PM
Turns out it will be a while before we get started.
Couldnt find any dates before christmas, then in march 2 of the 6 in the group travel to japan for year.... .sigh

12-31-2012, 10:42 PM
been there, done that. nice place to visit. just avoid the triffs. ^^

09-21-2013, 07:48 AM
Okay... so we are about to start soon, now all are back, and im dusting off my plans.

Currently im set on a full warblade, probably majoring in White Raven maneuvers since the group is melee heavy

But im not convinced if my plans on AoO tripping really needs the feats im planning to invest.

Hold the line is only one feat, but it enables me to make an AoO against a foe whose Charge brings him into a threatened area...... so if they dont charge its worth squat.

Defensive throw requires combat reflexes and improved trip (which im going for anyway) but also dodge and improved unarmed strike, enabling me to make an AoO if an opponent i threaten misses an attack against me ...... meaning 3 feats wasted when I cant ensure mobs will attack me

Thinking about dropping Defensive Throw, but what about Hold the Line ... worth it or wasted

09-21-2013, 09:34 AM
Also.... if a maneuver requires me to have f.ex. 4 Iron Heart maneuvers..... is that only for obtaining it or also for using it..... i.e. can i take it, then change out two of the maneuvers as i level, meaning i only have 3 iron heart maneuvers including it self, and still use it ?

09-21-2013, 11:05 AM
based on what i'm reading, it looks like the wording technically only covers selection of the maneuver, and does not apply to using it. your dm may differ.

09-24-2013, 12:52 PM
Defensive throw feat..... worth it for a tripper with no way of making sure they attack him ?
Hold the line feat.... worth it for a tripper since its only on charges ?
Martial study feat.... can i use it to take f.x. Devoted Spirit maneuvers for a warblade ?

09-25-2013, 02:15 PM
does defensive throw trigger on AoOs? if so, they just allow yourself to provoke when you attempt to trip. ^^

depends on if you have spare feats left over or not. if you can combine it with some sort of taunting or mechanic, which would also help the first idea.

should be able to, but note the specific rules for maneuvers taken via feat.

09-27-2013, 02:20 AM
It seems like you have your character down well, so let's talk about those encounters!

My favorite thing in the world for those run blindly at the enemy groups is pits. Good old pit traps! You mentioned kobalds, so i'll tell you one of my kobald stories.

The party was in the Underdark (at 6th level) following a river that carved a path though the vine infested limestone tunnels, leaving a 10 foot passage on either side of the river. At the end of their torch light they saw a trio of kobalds firing arrows at the party! The Giant axe weilding 6th level fight charged em, only to fall into a pit the kobalds had covered with vines directly in front of them. The 1st level kobald Druid behind them then cast Entangle on the rest of the party, and hijinks ensued!

If you're doing low magic but allow bards, they can be super powerful too. Having a bard cast Harmony http://dndtools.eu/spells/magic-of-faerun--20/harmony--1647/ and then Inspire Courage is a 1st level, low magic way to give all of your antagonists the equivilent of +2 weapons! A good hook can be that another heroic party with a bard identifies the PC's as resembling a group of bandits plaguing the area (a rocky chokepoint on the road between two towns perhaps), and they rush headlong at the party!


09-27-2013, 01:07 PM
Kobolds with traps, poisons and tactics

Most of the party is humans, so darkness spell

09-27-2013, 04:34 PM
Kobolds with traps, poisons and tactics

Most of the party is humans, so darkness spell

nothing like some tucker's kobolds to teach the party some fear and respect!