"Looks can be deceiving, and if you don't pay attention…well…too bad for you."

A master of martial maneuvers, the swordsage is a physical adept—a blade wizard whose knowledge of the Sublime Way lets him unlock potent abilities, many of which are overtly supernatural or magical in nature. Depending on which disciplines he chooses to study, a swordsage might be capable of walking through walls, leaping dozens of feet into the air, shattering boulders with a single touch, or even mastering the elements of fi re or shadow. Whatever his specific training, a swordsage blurs the line between martial prowess and magical skill.


Hit Die

Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge, Listen, Martial Lore, Move Silently, Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Swim, Tumble.

Swordsages are Literate (see Languages for details).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) ×4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Maneuvers Known Maneuvers per Encounter Stances Known
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Quick to act +1, discipline focus (Weapon Focus) 6 4 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 AC bonus 7 4 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 8 5 2
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Discipline focus (insightful strike) 9 5 2
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Quick to act +2 10 6 3
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 11 6 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Sense magic 12 6 3
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Discipline focus (defensive stance) 13 7 3
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Evasion 14 7 4
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Quick to act +3 15 8 4
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 16 8 4
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Discipline focus (insightful strike) 17 8 4
13th +10/+5 +4 +8 +8 18 9 4
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 19 9 5
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Quick to act +4 20 10 5
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Discipline focus (defensive stance) 21 10 5
17th +13/+8/+3 +5 +10 +10 Improved evasion 22 10 5
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 23 11 5
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 24 11 5
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Dual boost 3/day, quick to act +5 25 12 6

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: As a swordsage, you are proficient with simple weapons, martial melee weapons (including those that can be used as thrown weapons), and light armor, but not with shields.

Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of six martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Desert Wind, Diamond Mind, Setting Sun, Shadow Hand, Stone Dragon, and Tiger Claw. Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by swordsages is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one.

You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown on the above table. You must meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it. See details on Blade Magic or the bottom of this page, to determine the highest-level maneuvers you can learn. Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered swordsage level after that (6th, 8th, 10th, and so on), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 10th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- or 4th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 5th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

Maneuvers Per Encounter: You have four maneuvers per encounter at level 1, and as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you are able to use more in a single encounter.

You begin an encounter with all your maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for the current encounter, so each of your maneuvers can be used once per encounter unless you recover them. You can recover an expended maneuver by using a fullround action to quickly meditate. Doing this does not provoke attacks of opportunity. If you complete your meditation, you can choose one expended maneuver to refresh. It is now available for use in a subsequent round.

Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of one 1st-level stance from any discipline open to you. At 2nd, 5th, 9th, 14th, and 20th level, you can choose additional stances. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know are available to you at all times, and you can change the stance you currently use as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike with maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.

AC Bonus: Starting at 2nd level, you can add your Wisdom modifier as a bonus to Armor Class, so long as you wear light armor, are unencumbered, and do not use a shield. This bonus to AC applies even against touch attacks or when you are flat-footed. However, you lose this bonus when you are immobilized or helpless. Mithril Medium armour does not count as light armour for purposes of this ability.

Discipline Focus (Ex): As a swordsage, you can focus your training to take advantage of each discipline’s fighting style. Each time you gain the discipline focus ability, select one of the six swordsage disciplines to which that focus applies. You can select a different discipline each time you gain discipline focus, but you must know at least one martial maneuver from the selected discipline. Even if you select a different discipline at higher levels, your discipline choice for earlier abilities does not change.
This focus manifests in the following ways.

Weapon Focus: At 1st level, you gain the benefit of the Weapon Focus feat for weapons associated with the chosen discipline.
Insightful Strikes: At 4th level, you can add your Wisdom modifier as a bonus on damage rolls whenever you execute a strike from the chosen discipline. At 12th level, you can choose a second discipline to which this ability applies.
Defensive Stance: At 8th level, you gain a +2 bonus on saving throws whenever you adopt a stance from the chosen discipline. At 16th level, you can choose a second discipline to which this ability applies.
You gain a +2 bonus on Martial Lore checks made regarding a maneuver in a discipline in which you have discipline focus.

Quick to Act (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on initiative checks. This bonus increases by 1 at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level.

Sense Magic (Su): Beginning at 7th level, you can spend 10 minutes focusing upon a weapon or suit of armor. If you succeed on a level check (DC 10 + the caster level of the weapon or armor), you can identify the properties of that item, including its enhancement bonus and special abilities. This ability does not reveal the properties of artifacts or legacy weapons, though it does indicate that such items are significantly powerful.

Evasion (Ex): At 9th level, you can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If you make a successful Refl ex saving throw against an attack that normally deals damage on a successful save, you instead take no damage. Evasion can be used only if you are wearing light armor or no armor. If you are helpless, you do not gain the benefi t of evasion.

Improved Evasion (Ex): From 17th level on, you gain the benefi t of improved evasion. You still take no damage if you make a successful Reflex save against an attack, and even if you fail the Reflex save, you take only half damage from the attack. If you are helpless, you do not gain the benefi t of improved evasion.

Dual Boost (Ex): When you reach 20th level, you can use two boost maneuvers simultaneously. Whenever you initiate a boost maneuver, you can also initiate any other boost maneuver that you know as a free action. Both boosts you initiate are expended normally. You can use this ability three times per day.

Notes on Initiator Level for Blade Magic, and Selecting Maneuvers:

Initiator Level:
Some maneuvers and stances have variable effects (such as duration) that depend on initiator level. However, maneuvers are not impacted as strongly by a user’s level as spells are. This difference in effect is primarily a balance and game play issue. Since you can use maneuvers repeatedly, they tend to scale poorly. As you attain higher levels, you usually use your low-level maneuvers less often (if you haven’t already traded them out for higher-level stances however many stances, boosts, and counters remain useful across all levels.

If you are a single-class character, your initiator level equals your level in the class that provides access to martial maneuvers (crusader, swordsage, or warblade). If you lack any martial adept levels, your initiator level is equal to 1/2 your character level.

Multiclass Characters:
Even when you gain levels in a class that does not grant martial maneuvers, your understanding of the martial disciplines still increases. A highly skilled fighter has the basic combat training and experience needed to master advanced maneuvers. If you are a multiclass martial adept, and you learn a new maneuver by attaining a new level in a martial adept class, determine your initiator level by adding together your level in that class + 1/2 your levels in all other classes. Look up the result on the table below to determine the highest-level maneuvers you can take. You still have to meet a maneuver’s prerequisite to learn it.

For example, a 7th-level Crusader/5th-level swordsage has an initiator level of 9th for determining the highest level maneuvers he can take as a crusader. As a result, he can take 5th-level crusader maneuvers. As a swordsage, his initiator level is 8th, allowing him to take 4th-level swordsage maneuvers.

This process applies to all of a character’s levels, whether they are in martial adept classes or other classes.

Selecting Martial Maneuvers:
Much like spells, martial maneuvers are organized by level. Higher-level maneuvers are more powerful than lower level ones. As you gain levels, you have the option to select higher-level maneuvers. Your level in a martial adept class determines the highest-level maneuvers you can select. For example, a 5th-level warblade can select maneuvers of 3rd level or lower.

Highest-Level Maneuvers Known
Initiator Level Maneuver Level
1st–2nd 1st
3rd–4th 2nd
5th–6th 3rd
7th–8th 4th
9th–10th 5th
11th–12th 6th
13th–14th 7th
15th–16th 8th
17th+ 9th