(Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords variant, p. 15)

A master of martial maneuvers, the sword sage 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 fire or shadow. Whatever his specific training, a swordsage blurs the line between martial prowess and magical skill.

Hit die


Skill points

6 + Int

Class Features

Of all three martial adept classes, swordsages learn and can ready the most maneuvers. This advantage gives them unparalleled versatility in a given encounter. In one battle, a swordsage might fulfi ll the role of the rogue, lurking in shadows and striking when foes are least prepared. In another, he might be scorching enemies with area attacks, much like a wizard. In still another fight, he might tear an enemy apart with his bare hands, matching a barbarian's ferocity with his own distinctive style of bloodthirstiness. Whatever the occasion, a swordsage is able to contribute, often in completely unexpected ways.

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 Table 1—2. You must meet a maneuver's prerequisite to learn it. See Table 3—1, page 39, 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.

Highest Level Maneuvers Known
Initiator Level Maneuvers Known
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

Maneuvers Readied: You can ready four of your six maneuvers known at 1st level, and as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you are able to ready more, but you must still choose which maneuvers to ready. You ready your maneuvers by meditating and exercising for 5 minutes. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to meditate again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in meditation, you can change your readied maneuvers.

You begin an encounter with all your readied 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 readied maneuvers can be used once per encounter (unless you recover them, as described below).

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.

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. See the discipline descriptions in Chapter 4.

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 Reflex 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 benefit of evasion.

Improved Evasion (Ex): From 17th level on, you gain the benefit 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 benefit 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.


The name "swordsage" naturally implies a character who carries a sword or weapon of some kind. However, a swordsage works very well as a supernatural martial artist of almost any school or origin. To create a monklike character with a tremendous array of fantastic moves and strikes, give the swordsage the monk's unarmed strike progression and remove his light armor proficiency. If you prefer, you could instead emphasize the magical talents of the swordsage by giving the swordsage the ability to learn arcane spells in place of maneuvers of equivalent level. In general, spells from the schools of abjuration, evocation, and transmutation are most appropriate for a swordsage of this type, especially spells with a range of personal or touch. The arcane spell is "cast" as if it were a martial maneuver. In this case, you should remove the class's light armor proficiency and reduce the swordsage's Hit Die to d6.


Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Maneuvers Known Maneuvers Readied 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

Class skills

Skill name Key ability Trained only Armor check penalty
Balance DEX no yes
Climb STR no yes
Concentration CON no no
Craft INT no no
Heal WIS no no
Hide DEX no yes
Intimidate CHA no no
Jump STR no yes
Knowledge (history) INT yes no
Knowledge (local) INT yes no
Knowledge (nature) INT yes no
Knowledge (nobility and royalty) INT yes no
Listen WIS no no
Martial Lore INT yes no
Move Silently DEX no yes
Profession WIS yes no
Ride DEX no no
Sense Motive WIS no no
Swim STR no yes
Tumble DEX yes yes

Spells for Swordsage

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