Well if it isn't Mike! :O
Path of War is amaaaaaazinngggg! You'll notice your melee initiators doing some pretty incredible damage between levels 1-5. These are the levels that melees normally always shine though, except the martials will definitely blow the classic Fighter, Paladin, Barbarian, and Ranger classes away.
Levels above 5, however, the PoW classes will start to slink behind your typical 4th levels spells. Being able to summon a Tiger or Satyr with Summon Nature's Ally 4 is pretty hard to beat.
So yeah, your melees will be doing lots more damage and have lots more options at their disposal. Game breaking? Hardly.
I've re-read one of the rules in the System Use and am inclined to agree that all the initiator classes DO indeed get to swap maneuvers even if they take a class in something else.
"Retraining: Initiators can retrain their known maneuvers and stances; this retraining takes 2 days per level of the new maneuver and requires a trainer who can initiate the desired maneuver or enter the desired stance. The new maneuver or stance must be part of the initiator’s available disciplines for the class, and must be of an equal or lower level to the maneuver or stance it replaces. Note that this is unrelated to the ability of initiators to swap maneuvers for higher-level ones at certain initiator levels; that swap represents the initiator’s evolving style of combat, does not require a trainer, cannot replace stances, and can happen only once at a given level."
The fact that they mention the statement in bold can only mean it's referring to a multi-class initiator whom had their ability "proc" from multiple initiator classes at once, which can only be possible if the ability did indeed "proc" from taking a class other than the base initiator class.
That's incorrect, Baval. All classes add initiator levels at the rate of 1/2.
Quoted from System Use:
"When you gain levels in a class that does not grant martial maneuvers, your understanding of the Path of War still increases. A well-trained, highly skilled fighter has the basic combat training needed to master martial maneuvers. If you are a multiclass martial disciple, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial disciple class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes (treating racial Hit Dice as class levels for these purposes).
Baval, I know that's how it's written, but strictly by how it's written, you could just take 1 level of one of the classes, like Zealot for instance, and then take the rest of your levels in Cleric for instance, and still continue to be able to swap old maneuvers for higher level ones as you advance in cleric levels. That doesn't seem right.
Simply put, do the Path of War Prestige classes receive the ability to swap maneuvers at even initiator levels like the base classes?
It doesn't state it anywhere directly, but it would seem like they would be severely gimped in up-to-date maneuvers known if not.
Back in the Book of 9 swords, I don't believe the Prestige classes had the ability to swap maneuvers.
"Q: Can you switch maneuvers that you know for ones that you don't know?
I think they might have carried the same concept over to Prestige classes in Path of War too, but I'm not certain. What does everyone think?
It doesn't specifically state that the removal of the passage for Umbral Blade maneuver swaps has anything to do with all prestige classes simply just automatically receiving it.
Without the Maneuver swaps however, the Prestige classes would seriously be lacking in maneuvers known though so it would make sense.
How does everyone else play this in their campaign?
All of the martial adepts get the ability to swap maneuvers starting at initiator level 4 and then every 2 levels from then on. Let's say you are a multi-class adept or you entered a prestige class and hit an even numbered initiator level (4, 6, etc) but took a level in a class that does not receive maneuver swaps, for instance if you were an 11th level Stalker who took your 12th level in Umbral Blade, or you were a Fighter 1 / Zealot 3 and took your 5th level as a Fighter. Does your Zealot, Warden, Stalker, etc maneuver swap mechanism still kick in?