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I'm playing a Hidden Blade (Rogue Archetype) with at least 3+ Maneuvers that can be readied. Is this loop broken within the Path of War rules?:

  1. Ready at least Swift Current twice and have Coward's Gambit.

    Swift Current: (standard action) draw weapon as part of attack to make target flat-footed

    Coward's Gambit: (swift action) hit flat-footed target to regain Initiator mod (Int) in maneuvers

  2. Use Swift Current as opener and deal sneak attack on target.

  3. Use Coward's Gambit with secondary Swift Current and deal sneak attack the following round.

  4. Regain Initiator mod (Int mod) in maneuvers.

  5. Repeat till target is dead.

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No, this loop is not valid as written

As per the Combat Maneuver rules from Path of War, emphasis mine.

You may not ready an individual maneuver more than once when readying your maneuvers (meaning you cannot ready any strike, boost, or counter more than a single time while you’re readying your maneuvers, you may only have a single application of each, i.e. you can only ready Scything Strike, Red Zephyr Strike, and Crushing Blow once each).

Based on this, you won't be able to ready a second Swift Current to continue the loop.

If you were to use a different maneuver, such as Dimensional Strike to keep the target flat-footed, then you could continue to sneak attack each round of combat.

The correct order of actions would be:

  • Swift Action: Start Gambit
  • Standard Action: Strike Maneuver
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Fine what if you ready two different maneuvers that both make the target flat footed Swift Current and Dimensional Strike? That should complete a the circuit loop. \$\endgroup\$ – Jhyarelle Silver Oct 29 '17 at 6:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JhyarelleSilver It would, and I've edited the answer to show the correct order. If you're trying to maximise SA damage though, there are other options which can ensure you have more attacks, thought don't ask me off the top of my head \$\endgroup\$ – Nyoze Oct 29 '17 at 7:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice! I didn't see that. Thanks. I know there are other ways to get SA. Swashbuckler Lv5 get Imp Crit by that level with an Elven Curved Blade with Keen and spec for crits. Or a Dagger Master crit build \$\endgroup\$ – Jhyarelle Silver Oct 29 '17 at 9:03
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No, this combo isn't generally a worthwhile use of actions

Your combo doesn't work. It wouldn't be difficult to patch, though, and it certainly isn't problematic for game balance, except that in many fights you may be unable to meaningfully contribute. This is in part because rogues are generally terrible in combat, and in part because your plan exaggerates the weaknesses inherent in the rogue while decreasing the average damage dealt each round by the character.

1) Standard Rogue Problems Made Worse

Rogues struggle to deal meaningful damage at a distance, because the range at which they can sneak attack is capped. Your strike requires the use of melee weapons, preferable light blades, heavy blades, and polearms. This means the combo limits you more or less to melee attacks and thrown daggers, the former of which is not really a viable attack form most of the time and the latter of which has a maximum range of 50 feet which will need to be upgraded via valuable character resources alongside your maximum sneak attack range

Rogues need to sneak attack every round to keep up on damage. You need to sneak attack every round to keep up on damage and you need to be able to draw a sheathed weapon to make your combo work. While your combo provides relatively decent sneak attack opportunity access, it's much easier to get access to sneak attack against opponents where that's possible than to ensure you have an extra move action to sheathe your weapon(s) each round. Essentially you are a rogue that needs to take a full round action to sneak attack every round, with a slightly relaxed version of sneak attack.

Many monsters are completely immune to sneak attacks. You don't really make this too much worse, since practically no creatures are immune to being flatfooted.

2) Brand New Problems of Your Own

You can't full attack. You get exactly one attack each round, and that attack can't even be modified by e.g. the Vital Strike feat. This is crippling starting at about level 5, and irreparably crippling starting at level 8. You can't dual wield, you can't use speed enhancers, you can't benefit from haste, etc. This is a big deal and easily halves the damage you'd otherwise deal at mid levels.

You need to use your move action every round, to sheathe your weapon so you can draw it next round or later that round. You have a little leeway on this, being able to miss one move action after the start of a fight before you are unable to continue the combo for a round, but it's still pretty sucky.

That said, the hypothetically fixed version of the combo is a good tactic at low levels, as it lets you regain your maneuvers easily and provides a damage buff to your allies. Even then, though, you should avoid targets with high flatfooted AC, since your maneuver is a consumable resource, and you should use the combo to regain maneuvers, not as a damage-dealing mainstay.

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