If you’ve played one of the martial classes, you might wonder why spellcasters get all the cool new toys. Sure, playing a fighter or rogue or monk can be fun, but they pretty much always have the same options – melee attack, ranged attack, full attack. There are occasionally things to make those interesting, such as cleave or grapple, but those options aren’t always the best option.
So why should spellcasters and manifesters get all the fun abilities? Path of War provides fun, but balanced, options to the martial classes so that role-playing interactions aren’t the only time you get to do cool things with your character!
To put it simply, the Path of War is a new way to look at martial combat. At its basic roots, the Path of War allows for martially-inclined characters to harness new abilities to aid them in combat. These new abilities are known as maneuvers, a specific technique that allows a martial disciple to enact a powerful attack, erect a defense against an attack, or improve his overall fighting ability or the abilities of others. By initiating these in combat, the martial disciple has a powerful edge that can even rival the powers of the spellcasters of the world.
Maneuvers are grouped into disciplines, with each discipline having a group of associated weapons that fit the use of that discipline. In addition, disciplines have an associated skill that is often used with many of the maneuvers themselves.
Once used, a maneuver is considered expended, not unlike a prepared spell for spellcasters. But where the difference between a spell and a martial maneuver lies is the martial disciple’s ability to recover that expended maneuver for use again and again over the course of the day.
All characters have the potential to learn these maneuvers, either by being a martial disciple or by being someone who has taken up martial training in addition to their class’ normal training. Martial disciples are those who have taken the stalker, warder, or warlord classes, and all others must learn martial maneuvers through training (such as by taking feats) or through specific training in their class (by taking up an archetype). Once learned, a character is forever a martial initiator, a warrior with skills beyond the abilities of most others of his kind, and the potential to master these arts lies before him along the Path of War.
The Path of War offers a number of new things that could fit into any campaign setting, from classes and archetypes, feats, items and monsters, to organizations that are fundamentally connected to cultures of martial disciples that have learned, developed, and spread disciplines of maneuvers to their members for mutual benefit. By adding the Path of War to your campaign, you’re adding an exciting wealth of new opportunities and options to the Pathfinder game system, breathing new life in to combat as well as into classic monsters that will suddenly have new tricks that veteran players will enjoy as much as new players.
Martial maneuvers are not something just anyone can easily do. It is a form of combat requiring extensive training to learn effectively, found by the new classes presented in this book. These three new classes use different disciplines of martial maneuvers to perform their roles and engage their enemies.
The three new martial classes, in the order they are presented in this book, are as follows.
Path of War, © 2014, Dreamscarred Press.