Forge your name in battle!
The Complete Warrior provides you with an in-depth look at combat and provides detailed information on how to prepare a character for confrontation.
This title was not only compiled from various D&D sources, but contains new things as well, including new battle-oriented character classes, prestige classes, combat maneuvers, feats, spells, magic items, and equipment. The prestige classes included have been revised and updated based on player feedback, and there are rules for unusual combat situations. The Complete Warrior will assist all class types, including those classes not typically associated with melee combat. There are also tips on running a martially focused campaign and advice on how to make your own prestige classes and feats.
To use this accessory, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. A player needs only the Player's Handbook.
Complete Warrior (2003) is an updating of 3e D&D's Sword & Fist, with 75% new material. It provides three new base classes, 36 prestige classes (of which at least ten are completely new), and a plethora of feats. The book concludes with an overview of fantasy warfare, historical warfare, and campaigns based on military organizations and competitions.
Reworking Class Options. The three new classes in this offering are the hexblade, the samurai, and the swashbuckler. At least two of these would previously have been prestige classes built for the fighter, and it's interesting that they've been broken out into full classes to allow players to embrace the concepts from day one. As base classes, all three provide solid and balanced character concepts. If you plan to be swinging on chandeliers and tossing cloaks over your foes' heads from early in your adventuring career, the swashbuckler is a good choice for you. The hexblade is even more intriguing, a cross between a fighter and a curse-tossing sorcerer who would make a superb anti-hero.
Even the previously published prestige classes revisited in this book have generally been reworked significantly for flavor and balance. Not all are 10-level classes, either, allowing players to expand their character options without major commitment. As always, beware the frenzied berserker (a common quote from a typical game: "Why won't he DIE?!?"), but the mixture of prestige classes gives players options that fill flavorful, specific niches. Several of these hearken back to earlier editions, with the cavalier modeling the original class in AD&D's Unearthed Arcana and the Bladesinger echoing 2e AD&D's elven “kit” for fighter/mages.
The best prestige classes are those that provide flavor without the expense of too little (or too much) combat power. The mindspy, for instance, is a 5-level prestige class often seen in doppelgangers and mind flayers. It allows the warrior to quickly scan opponents’ minds and anticipate their every move. Even in a game without psionics, this is a class that works just as well out of combat as it does within a melee.
Necessary Feats. The core of the fighter class in 3e D&D is feats, and this book doesn't disappoint. These range from the desperately needed Improved Toughness feat to tactical feats that give slightly more powerful abilities in very specific circumstances, to style feats that make normally mediocre weapons interesting and viable in combat again. This chapter also includes a handful of combat-oriented spells, particularly new domains for clerics and spells for the hexblade, and a handful of construct-based familiars.
I applaud the introduction of “tactical” and “style” feats. In retrospect, tactical feats probably turned out to be too specific; a feat that you aren't able to use very often isn't really a useful power, even when it provides a great benefit in those rare cases you're able to bring it into play. Nevertheless, in a game that has characters specializing on different tactics as they rise in power, tactical feats allowed players to build very competent and focused heroes.
Style feats were needed for some time, and rationalize the inclusion of relatively ineffective weapons that remain flavorful. And let's face it, every gladiatorial battle should feature someone with a net and trident; style feats make that a viable choice.
Fantasy Warfare. D&D typically focuses on small-scale engagements, so it's good to see advice and information on large-scale warfare in a fantasy world. Historical and modern tactics are both examined here, and fantasy twists (such as using giant eagles for aerial recon) are applied. It's a reasonable overview of methods for making smarter decisions on the battlefield.
This chapter also examines mercenary campaigns, gladiatorial matches, archery contests, warrior organizations, and how to survive in an all-warrior campaign. Additional information covers a few new magic items, deities for warriors, exotic weapons, and rules for epic warriors.
Warriors Ho! Much better balanced than the original source book it is based on, Complete Warrior exceeds its goals by giving players a wide array of flavorful, balanced character variants. It served as an admirable model for the other Complete books to follow it, such as Complete Arcane.
About the Creators. Andy Collins, David Noonan, and Ed Stark were powerhouses of the 3.x-era WotC design team. Andy Collins is currently lead story designer for the Marvel Heroes MMO. David Noonan is now writing team manager for Enmasse Entertainment, and Ed (or T'Ed) Stark recently worked on the Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online MMORPG for THQ.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.