Sell me on Path of War.


Product Discussion


I hear a lot about this book about how amazing it is for martials and how it lets full mundanes do truly impressive and impactful things, but I honestly just don't see it. Nothing I saw while going through the contents really wowed me, and when I had a player in a game I ran use a Warlord it basically just played like a TWF Slayer with slightly better numbers and the ability to move and attack a bit better.

So I want you to show me why it's good. Don't compare to the Fighter; I want to see how Path of War stacks up against the absolute best of Paizo's full BAB offerings. How do the PoW classes stack up against the Barbarian, Bloodrager, and Paladin? What does the Warlord have that is as impactful and awe-inspiring as these classes' abilities?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Certainly. Are you looking for us to sell you on numbers, or on versatility? Base PoW only, or with the two Expanded PDFs that are out? I ask this because the Barbarian and Paladin are also mostly good at combat (with excellent defenses) and very limited versatility, so comparing against them will likely boil down to numbers rather than how versatile the classes are.

Also, just out of curiosity, can you give us the maneuver selections and level of the Warlord in question?


I consider the Barb, Pally, and Bloodrager to be the cream of the crop because they have a lot of versatility to go with their numbers; it's largely in-combat versatility of course but the Barbarian especially has a lot to bring to the table without even doing any damage with access to rage powers like Spell Sunder, Savage Dirty Trick, and Terrifying Howl.

The Warlord I GM'd for was unimpressive to me specifically because he contributed numbers and nothing else, so I'm mainly looking for truly eye-popping and thematic abilities.

No restrictions on what you can show me as long as it's something I can find in the PoW tab on PFSRD, though stuff that comes online in the first ten levels of play will generally be more interesting to me.


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Personal selling point: One of the stances lets the user move inside Time Stop.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

The maneuver system is interesting and cool, despite some of the powers being broken or overpowered.

The book has the most balanced approach to Dexterity-to-damage I've seen -- way better than the mess that Slashing Grace is.


I've seen lots of eye popping and thematic stuff during the time I've played with PoW. It's disappointing that your warlord just used it to boost his numbers and be another boring full attacker.

At level 2, a Scarlet Throne (swashbuckler/duelist themed) warlord player disarmed a level 5 paladin NPC by using Blade of Breaking and Duelist's Gambit, gaining a 4+cha bonus on the disarm check and dealing 2d6+dex+cha damage on his free attack, thanks to Scarlet Einhander, Deadly Grace, and Duelist's Gambit with a rapier. The paladin responded by drawing a piddly backup dagger and flailing away. The warlord used Acrobatic Gambit to arrogantly show off his superiority and dance around the paladin untouched, refreshing Blade of Breaking in the process with the gambit. Then he disarmed the paladin a second time! He could have easily used another strike to deal a whopping 3d6+dex+cha damage, but he was having fun dominating a level 5 paladin as a level 2 warlord.

At level 4, my party of 3 players had to infiltrate and destroy a watchtower with 100 soldiers and 7 named NPCs that were higher level than them. The dervish defender warder, who had a much higher intelligence than most barbarians, paladins, and bloodragers, pretended to be a visiting sage, and had the knowledge and social skills thanks to Student of Philosophy to back up the ruse. With an absolutely massive AC and damage potential while completely naked and armed with only a quarterstaff, she took out a room full of 10 guards all by herself, mostly with her huge amount of AOOs from Defensive Focus.

Also at level 4, same situation. The Veiled Moon (ghostly ninja themed) stalker was impossible for the soldiers to pin down. She was like Batman from the Arkham games. Awesome at stealth and info gathering, but also great in combat, and could easily retreat in unexpected directions. She learned the layout of the watchtower, then took out isolated enemies in surprise rounds with Deadly Strike (via the Deadly Ambush stalker art). She took out two guards at once standing next to each other in the same standard action with Flurry Strike. When an archer on a nearby rooftop spotted her doing this, she easily won initiative thanks to Combat Insight, then teleported over to the archer with Fading Strike and took him out.

One of my players was an insinuator antipaladin, but I allowed her to use the Black Seraph and Eternal Guardian disciplines. (Eternal Guardian is in beta testing by Dreamscarred Press, and you can find all their upcoming PoW content in this link.) They're both disciplines that emphasize fear and control, perfect for a lawful evil antipaladin. She was so terrifying that she could make people freeze in mid-swing with terror as they attacked her by using Intimidating Force. She could grow a pair of black feathery angel wings with Razor Wings of the Black Seraph, fly over a unit of enemies on a battlefield, and rip em all apart with a flurry of unholy black feathers with Circle of Razor Feathers. On the Eternal Guardian side of things, she protected her squishy teammates with Intruder's End to give her huge reach and more AOOs (much like the warder's Defensive Focus), and captured an Avoral Agathion with Shackles of the Condemned. Spectral chains extended from the antipaladin and latched into the Avoral, preventing her from fleeing even by teleportation.

I don't know what to tell you if you don't find all that eye popping and thematic. Mechanically speaking, all a paladin really does is heal itself swiftly, hit evil creatures with really big numbers, have high saves, and cast the occasional utility spell. And I say that as someone whose 2nd favorite class is paladin.

Sczarni

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The real selling point of PoW is not how big the numbers can get -thou they can get collosal- but how the maneuvers and subsystems allow for otherwise non functional concepts to be used easily and without hoop jumping. Singletons, throwers, sword and board, wierd weapons, finesse wariors, TWFers, etc all can now be competitive through stances and intuitive feats. Furthermore, it finally offers a good aggro class in the warder, so whats not to love.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
I hear a lot about this book about how amazing it is for martials and how it lets full mundanes do truly impressive and impactful things, but I honestly just don't see it.

To be fair, if it was that obvious, (more) folks would be screaming "broken".

That said, the whole system allows a good degree of customization. Each class isn't locked to one particular tactic or build because there are a variety of maneuvers to select from.

For instance, in our Wrath campaign, my psion had a faerie dragon cohort who was built from PoW. Her "schtick" was repositioning opponents. All she needed to do was hit, and she could slide someone five feet, ten feet, and eventually a move worth of movement. Why this mattered was because another player had a character built to deliver massive single hits. So giving them an AoO was a force multiplier. It was very cool on the battlefield, but on her own, Pervenche was exactly what she looked like; a mostly harmless tiny dragon.

So it's all in how you use the materials. You can play selfish, you can play tactical, there are options.


Depends on the Discipline.

Thrashing Dragon and Primal Fury are mostly numbers boosts.

Golden Lion is the "Tacticool" Discipline. Has a bunch of neat stuff like giving your allies free Move actions on a strike to safely reposition or flee, and granting them the use of your Combat Feats and so on.

Iron Tortoise is the "I can tank ALL that" Discipline, allowing you to counter attacks, counter-attack, counter spells, and toss your shield like Captain America.

Broken Blade is numbers boosts but also Combat maneuvers, DR bypassing, and status effects.

Soar Wind is a combo of "MOAR FIRE DAMAGE" and "Ranged Combat Maneuvers", with some interesting martial AoE options on top.

Veiled Moon is the "So I heard martials have a mobility problem?" Discipline. Teleport here, teleport there, turn ethereal, SMELL GHOSTS, and all sorts of crazy cool stuff.

Black Seraph is the "You scared bro?" Discipline, based around Intimidate, feeding off fear, and profane damage.

And Scarlet Throne is the "Duelist" Discipline.

That's the ones that are on the SRD. I'd give breakdowns of the ones released with Harbinger and Mystic but one step at a time. =)


Arachnofiend wrote:

I hear a lot about this book about how amazing it is for martials and how it lets full mundanes do truly impressive and impactful things, but I honestly just don't see it. Nothing I saw while going through the contents really wowed me, and when I had a player in a game I ran use a Warlord it basically just played like a TWF Slayer with slightly better numbers and the ability to move and attack a bit better.

So I want you to show me why it's good. Don't compare to the Fighter; I want to see how Path of War stacks up against the absolute best of Paizo's full BAB offerings. How do the PoW classes stack up against the Barbarian, Bloodrager, and Paladin? What does the Warlord have that is as impactful and awe-inspiring as these classes' abilities?

Hi, I'm Elric, one of the authors for Path of War: Expanded. I also wrote some guides for Path of War and Path of War: Expanded classes. So I think I might be able to shed some light on this for you.

So the question is: What does the Warlord bring to the table that the Paladin, Barbarian and Bloodrager do not? Quite a bit actually, though it's sometimes not apparent from just glancing at the class.

First off, let's establish what the Warlord is generally good at. The Warlord is primarily a damage dealer, though they have strong secondary focuses on in combat buffing and social interaction. They can also pick up additional focuses depending on their discipline selection, but more on that later.

So primarily, the Warlord is a front line combatant that relies on a couple unique features to get their party into fighting shape.

First among these is the Warlord's Gambit class feature. Gambits, in addition to being the Warlord's maneuver recovery method, also function as their primary means of in combat buffing. Gambits add the Warlord's Charisma Modifier to the d20 roll associated with the gambit (which can be things like attack rolls, skill checks, or CMB checks depending on the gambit in question), greatly increasing their chance to succeed. If the Warlord succeeds, then he and all allies within 60 ft. gain a notable benefit on the following round, which can range from bonuses to attack rolls, additional damage, flat footing the target, penalizing the target's saves, or gaining temporary hit points. Gambits like to be spammed, they're always available to use and they only cost a swift action. Between boosts and gambits, Warlords really should be using their swift action every turn.

Second, the Warlord gains the Tactical Presence class feature. These are 30 ft. auras that provide bonuses to the Warlord and his allies. They're passive benefits that can boost saving throws against common problems, or provide temporary hit points whenever the Warlord kills an enemy.

Third is the Warleader class feature, which allows the Warlord to share a teamwork feat he knows with his party, or learn a teamwork feat an ally knows. It's limited by uses per day, but there are plenty of uses available for the average adventuring day.

The Tactical Flanker ability gives allies the Warlord's CHA as a bonus to attack rolls when flanking instead of just a +2 bonus. Rogues will obviously love this, but who doesn't want to be more accurate?

Tactical Assistance is another great class feature, which boosts the benefits of the aid another action and allows it to be used as a move action. That piddly +2 to AC, attack rolls or skill checks isn't great, but adding +CHA on a charisma based class is really useful. Even if the Warlord isn't an expert at a skill, he is still an expert Cheerleader!

This, coupled with the Warlord's acceptable 4+INT skill points, CHA focus and their access to all the necessary Face skills, means that they can be great in social situations as well as combat.

Those are just the class features available to the base Warlord. What really makes Path of War Classes shine though are their maneuvers. Depending on the disciplines available, a Warlord can be a healer, debuffer, teleporter, tactical genius, Ranged death dealer or protective guardian. Worth noting is that Path of War has Martial Traditions which offer some benefits for joining their organization. The key benefit though is the ability to trade one of your disciplines for a different one provided by the Martial Tradition. With Path of War: Expanded material, there is a Martial Tradition available for every Discipline, and there's also a Trait called Unorthodox Method that allows you to trade a second discipline for one of your choice. This, combined with the 20 or so disciplines available between the two books, gives Path of War classes an incredible amount of versatility.

Since some of the posters here have already given summaries of the disciplines in Path of War, I won't expand on them, I'll just point out that while some disciplines are largely focused on damage dealing, many of them offer surprising utility in the form of counters (which negate attacks against your character, or sometimes other characters), boosts (which can provide things like free movement, debuffs and damage buffs) and stances (which bring new mobility options, long duration buffs and rarely, party wide effects). It's really a matter of going through and looking for the interesting options, then just using them. It's entirely possible to build a Warlord as a boring full attack spammer, but the nice thing about PoW is that building for full attack spam is no longer necessary to become a versatile and powerful combatant.


Okay, I'm definitely seeing a lot of good in this thread now. The Black Seraph abilities of Castilonium's Antipaladin have especially caught my interest... I'll have to give the book another shake. I kinda figured if I asked the boards I'd find out I was wrong about Path of War, so thanks.


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Veiled Moon is one of my particular favorites. You basically become Corvo.


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For me, its simple: i dont care about the power, but PoW characters are more fun. They have more options and can fulfill more fantasies.

On a related note, it annoys me when people play Warders as not tanks.


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One of the things I like about Path of War is that it allows you to pick what you want in combat without using feats.

Do you wanna damage, debuff, protect yourself, move around? The right discipline choice lets you do that!

Wanna make that bow you only occasionally use decently viable? Pick up a stance and a few maneuvers.


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Baval wrote:

For me, its simple: i dont care about the power, but PoW characters are more fun. They have more options and can fulfill more fantasies.

On a related note, it annoys me when people play Warders as not tanks.

Warders make good "not tanks" too though.

Hawkguard especially makes a a great "disruptor". Using Counters at range to protect your own allies? Mmmmmm...

Toss in some Solar Wind goodness pinning enemies to walls and whatnot and you get a Warder who is interesting and effective, but not tanky. Well, not any more tanky than a d12 HD class with pseudo-Armor Training is at a base level.


Sundakan wrote:
Baval wrote:

For me, its simple: i dont care about the power, but PoW characters are more fun. They have more options and can fulfill more fantasies.

On a related note, it annoys me when people play Warders as not tanks.

Warders make good "not tanks" too though.

Hawkguard especially makes a a great "disruptor". Using Counters at range to protect your own allies? Mmmmmm...

Toss in some Solar Wind goodness pinning enemies to walls and whatnot and you get a Warder who is interesting and effective, but not tanky. Well, not any more tanky than a d12 HD class with pseudo-Armor Training is at a base level.

I should clarify: When i say tank i dont mean beefy guy who can take a hit. I mean guy who can defend his allies from damage and prioritizes that.

To me, the two handed archtype is the worst thing. I see too many of my players picking that and playing the warder as a damage dealer who uses his stances to become hard to hit. I hate that, it just feels power gamey and doesnt feel right. At the same time though, I try not to limit people from playing what they want to play.

But it still bugs me seeing people try to make warders into offensive classes who dont care about....warding.....


As someone who's built the Swashbuckler to be strength-based in multiple different ways I'm definitely not going to be too hung up about that.


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I like Zweihander Sentinel. It's not really any less tanky and lets me use a Reach weapon. So many things are better with reach.

Makes some Golden Lion Maneuvers much better in some cases, at least so far (My Sentinel is only 1st level right now...).


Sundakan wrote:

I like Zweihander Sentinel. It's not really any less tanky and lets me use a Reach weapon. So many things are better with reach.

Makes some Golden Lion Maneuvers much better in some cases, at least so far (My Sentinel is only 1st level right now...).

I wouldnt have a problem with this, im pretty sure this is what the archtype is intended for.

I see people with greatswords or battleaxes though. Not even trying to be defensive =P


Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.

I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of our products. If you want to expand on that, we're always happy to get feedback.

Dark Archive

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Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.

That's a very strange way to spell "the best thing to happen to Pathfinder martials since 2009."


Baval wrote:
Sundakan wrote:

I like Zweihander Sentinel. It's not really any less tanky and lets me use a Reach weapon. So many things are better with reach.

Makes some Golden Lion Maneuvers much better in some cases, at least so far (My Sentinel is only 1st level right now...).

I wouldnt have a problem with this, im pretty sure this is what the archtype is intended for.

I see people with greatswords or battleaxes though. Not even trying to be defensive =P

Eh. They're only hurting themselves in the long run IMO. May as well let them.

Warder is a Full BaB class with Bonus Feats. If you cant HULK SMASH and defend the pride at the same time, you messed up somewhere.

Using a non-Reach weapon is already wasting one of the big deal abilities of the archetype: Shield Bash with the pommel negates the main weakness of Reach weapons.


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Baval wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
Baval wrote:

For me, its simple: i dont care about the power, but PoW characters are more fun. They have more options and can fulfill more fantasies.

On a related note, it annoys me when people play Warders as not tanks.

Warders make good "not tanks" too though.

Hawkguard especially makes a a great "disruptor". Using Counters at range to protect your own allies? Mmmmmm...

Toss in some Solar Wind goodness pinning enemies to walls and whatnot and you get a Warder who is interesting and effective, but not tanky. Well, not any more tanky than a d12 HD class with pseudo-Armor Training is at a base level.

I should clarify: When i say tank i dont mean beefy guy who can take a hit. I mean guy who can defend his allies from damage and prioritizes that.

To me, the two handed archtype is the worst thing. I see too many of my players picking that and playing the warder as a damage dealer who uses his stances to become hard to hit. I hate that, it just feels power gamey and doesnt feel right. At the same time though, I try not to limit people from playing what they want to play.

But it still bugs me seeing people try to make warders into offensive classes who dont care about....warding.....

Imho, it does fit the archetypal "One man army", however, if he's standing alone in a battlefield to defend a town against a raging horde of enemies, it makes sense for him to be able to defeat enemies fast enough for them not to get past him and tanky enough that he won't be overwhelmed.

And this is one of the key points of it-Each class can be easily reinterpreted into a variety of roles. A full warder party could have a dedicated protector, a healing focused character via Silver Crane, a strong debuffing Fiendbound Marauder via Black Seraph and Cursed Razor, and a sneaky Dervish Defender/Hawkguard that also dishes a lot of damage. ((Of course then, a 4-man warder party can pretty much deal with most encounters due to all of them mutually protecting each other in a steel-tight defensive formation.))


Sundakan wrote:
Baval wrote:
Sundakan wrote:

I like Zweihander Sentinel. It's not really any less tanky and lets me use a Reach weapon. So many things are better with reach.

Makes some Golden Lion Maneuvers much better in some cases, at least so far (My Sentinel is only 1st level right now...).

I wouldnt have a problem with this, im pretty sure this is what the archtype is intended for.

I see people with greatswords or battleaxes though. Not even trying to be defensive =P

Eh. They're only hurting themselves in the long run IMO. May as well let them.

Warder is a Full BaB class with Bonus Feats. If you cant HULK SMASH and defend the pride at the same time, you messed up somewhere.

Using a non-Reach weapon is already wasting one of the big deal abilities of the archetype: Shield Bash with the pommel negates the main weakness of Reach weapons.

yeah like i said i dont stifle peoples characters. Though i usually ask they at least try to make their build compatible with their character idea and not just selected for the most power and only tangentially related.

It just bugs me. I like defensive based things in all games and lets face it: Warder is probably one of the best if not the only way to make the tank role work in an TTRPG. I recognize that me being annoyed by the concept is not a good reason to disallow it though, or even really rational.


@Tuvarkz

Yep, youre right of course. Just my personal irrational pet peeve I guess =P


Elricaltovilla wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.
I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of our products. If you want to expand on that, we're always happy to get feedback.

Actually, I was curious if you guys intend to start a thread anywhere for Path of War 1 feedback for the errata? As it is now it's spread over 4 forums (including the old DSP website), a multitude of threads, and PMs to the devs.


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The biggest benefit to Path of War, such as the Warder or Warlord, is that they allow a player to use a multitude of different weapons or combat styles and make them work, without relying on "full-attack, end turn". You can play a completely dexterity-and-charisma-only character (a Warlord with Weapon Finesse and Deadly Agility) to play a roguish scoundrel that uses darts and daggers to make pinpoint-accurate attacks for debilitating his foes, or a ninja that does the same thing, all without needing to change a single mechanical detail. It allows you to play a savage and fierce warrior that protects his clan with his battleaxe and his brains (a Zweihander Sentinel Warder with Primal Fury and Scarlet Throne), or the same character can be a scholarly sort that dropped out of wizarding school to stab someone in the gut with a halberd. The Mystic is a way to play a monk that isn't terrible (Aurora Soul), or you can play your favorite cartoon or movie character that uses "magic" and doesn't rely on vancian spellcasting.

That being said, it's not without flaws. Some maneuvers are busted (either being too weak or too powerful), but the same could be said of spells. The Stalker is a class that feels at-odds with itself, being highly mobile but requiring to stand completely still in order to recover itself (making it feel a bit monkish in that regard, but not to the same ghastly extent). But otherwise, the system is usable and it works just as well when it comes to damage-dealing AND utility as the crown jewels of Pathfinder martial combat (The Barbarian, Paladin, and Slayer).

But then when you look at the options that maneuvers give you, these issues seem comparatively-minor. Swordsmen can sprout angelic (or fiendish) wings and fly about sewing terror where they land. Elementalists can coat their weapons or even their fists with fire and ice without needing to rely on fiddly spells or expensive items. Leaders can seize the opportunity and bring morale back to their men with a single strike. The sheer variety and flavor of the abilities rivals even spellcasting, without it busting the game open in-half and while still giving you a coherent set of powers. If you want to focus on fear, there's two disciplines with that as an important aspect. Ranged Combat? Solar Wind/Elemental Flux/Tempest Gale is what you need. Utility and maneuverability? Veiled Moon, Riven Hourglass, and Sleeping Goddess can make you unrivaled in evasion. It's a great way to palpably say "yes, this is what my character is about, and I can back that up starting from level 1."


Elricaltovilla wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.
I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of our products. If you want to expand on that, we're always happy to get feedback.

Not criticism, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for the Nightmare Dread archtype. It is PERFECT for my melee fear focused necromancer, and brought everything together perfectly, even being charisma based (why is harbinger int?).

Its like you guys read my character sheet of my favorite character =P


Insain Dragoon wrote:
Elricaltovilla wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.
I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of our products. If you want to expand on that, we're always happy to get feedback.
Actually, I was curious if you guys intend to start a thread anywhere for Path of War 1 feedback for the errata? As it is now it's spread over 4 forums (including the old DSP website), a multitude of threads, and PMs to the devs.

We have a document of compiled feedback from all over the place. I don't know yet how we'll proceed once PoW:E is done, but until it's done, that's what we have.


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Baval wrote:
Elricaltovilla wrote:
Secret Wizard wrote:
Ok, listen up, Arachno, I swear I can make up your mind on the subject: it sucks.
I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of our products. If you want to expand on that, we're always happy to get feedback.

Not criticism, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for the Nightmare Dread archtype. It is PERFECT for my melee fear focused necromancer, and brought everything together perfectly, even being charisma based (why is harbinger int?).

Its like you guys read my character sheet of my favorite character =P

I'm glad things turned out so well for you and your character. Never fails to make me smile hearing how somebody is able to bring a character to life using our products.

The harbinger is INT based because it's about understanding and analyzing emotion, not experiencing it. Harbingers don't experience fear, they force other people to experience it :P


makes sense.


I was being coy. I love the idea and I like a lot of things in PoW, but after playing a lot with it, I've felt disenchanted.

I feel it just adds power at the explicit cost of making martials feel like a disjointed bunch of abilities. I know each discipline has thematic abilities, but some things I find hard to justify and the major skill focus for accuracy generates some very weird scenarios.

With a Fighter or Monk I know where I stand. With a Warlord I just feel like I'm rolling dice -- as if my sheet were some sort of damage creation device.

This is an entirely subjective experience, of course, so that's my 2c.

As a note, there's some disciplines/builds that I have grown to enjoy. Iron Tortoise is the one that constantly draws me in.


Secret Wizard wrote:

I was being coy. I love the idea and I like a lot of things in PoW, but after playing a lot with it, I've felt disenchanted.

I feel it just adds power at the explicit cost of making martials feel like a disjointed bunch of abilities. I know each discipline has thematic abilities, but some things I find hard to justify and the major skill focus for accuracy generates some very weird scenarios.

With a Fighter or Monk I know where I stand. With a Warlord I just feel like I'm rolling dice -- as if my sheet were some sort of damage creation device.

This is an entirely subjective experience, of course, so that's my 2c.

As a note, there's some disciplines/builds that I have grown to enjoy. Iron Tortoise is the one that constantly draws me in.

Well, thank you for the reply. I can't really say that I've experienced what you've experienced in my play time with Path of War and standard Paizo classes, but I accept that you have that opinion. To me, the classes in Path of War have a lot of closely tied abilities and neat little synergies, I rarely find the need or desire to stand still and full attack, and there's almost always something extra that a strike brings to the table that isn't just damage. So to me, it's the opposite but to each their own.


I played a half-elf warlord through levels 1-18 in a Mummy's Mask campaign, and I can honestly say it's hands-down the most fun I've ever had playing a 'martial' character. It's easily one of my favorite characters to date. He had no issues keeping up with a heavens oracle, a bladebound kensai and a gunslinger 5/ empiricist investigator x. If anything the group thought he was a bit on the high end at the early levels, but I suspect that was in least because there was a "transition period". I picked up Veiled Moon in place of Scarlet Throne, and having 'a martial' casually use short-range teleportation both in and out of combat at level 3 was definitely something that took some getting used to. I later picked up Silver Crane in place of Solar Wind, which again served me very well.

With that said, I found there were two downsides.

The first is that I think it would be very hard to play another PoW character and not pick the Veiled Moon and/or Silver Crane disciples again. At the moment I feel these disciplines have a lot more utility value, which I value very highly, than more straightforward 'combat' disciplines like Primal Fury. I'm curious to see how the Expanded disciplines will stack up.

The other is that we found that taking one-level dips in PoW classes gave a huge payoff compared to non-initiator classes, since non-initiator levels still count towards the max level maneuver you can learn. IE a level 9 druid/1 stalker can learn 6 maneuvers up to level 3, which gives him a host of options he'd otherwise have to pay through the nose to pick up. While level 3 strikes are generally unexciting at level 10 there are numerous boosts, counters and stances that will be extremely useful throughout your adventuring career. This may just be our group though, we're somewhat cautious about dip options after having some frankenbuilds from 3.5 in play.


Battle Dragon Stance absolutely destroys at all levels and is a pretty good option at that dip. Also Riven Hourglass and it's 3rd level stance is a huge defensive buff.


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I like that initiators have decisions to make every round of combat. Which strike to use, when maneuvers need to be recovered etc... Makes being a martial class way more fun.

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