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I am building a Crusader, and I want to make better use of the features Steely Resolve and Furious Counterstrike.

Steely Resolve creates a delayed damage pool, the first 10* damage you receive every round are delayed to the end of your next turn. It starts every encounter from 0.
Furious Counterstrike gives you +1 to attack and damage rolls for every 5 HP in your delayed damage pool (rounded down, minimum +1).

Is there any way to deal myself 10 damage without spending my action on it? So even when I win the initiative, I am able to attack with a bonus greater than +1.

Preferably a feat I can take on level 1, or a simple magic item, but even a 1 level dip would work for me.
Extra points if the feature gives something positive itself.

Race: Warforged
World: Eberron


*The threshold changes with level, but this is irrelevant for now.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ From 'Tome and Battle' looks like? \$\endgroup\$ – joedragons Nov 27 '18 at 22:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @joedragons Tome of Battle: Book of the Nine Swords is the full title of the book. Not to be confused with Tome and Blood, a 3.0e book about wizards and sorcerers. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 28 '18 at 2:45
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Note that furious counterstrike will never amount to very much, and probably isn’t worth investing towards. However, there are options.

  • vicious melee weapon (Player’s Handbook or SRD): Deal +2d6 damage in exchange for taking 1d6 damage on each attack. This is not optional (!), but it is consistent and requires zero other resources. +1-equivalent.

  • Lady’s Gambit feat (Dragon vol. 317): Take damage up to your character level, for the next round gain +1 to attack and damage for every two points of damage taken. Requires the Iron Will and Power Attack feats.

    • Note: Iron Will can be obtained for the low-low price of 3,000 gp by visiting the Otyugh Hole, detailed in Complete Scoundrel. Ask your DM if this is an acceptable feature to include in your backstory, or to ask if it could possibly be part of the story.

    • While we’re on the subject of avoiding the obnoxious Iron Will tax, I am really liking my houserule to give it to characters with good Will saves instead of the usual +2.

    • Stone Power from Tome of Battle can be taken instead of Power Attack, and synergizes well with Lady’s Gambit (but then, so does Power Attack itself). Having damage from Lady’s Gambit go to your steely resolve pool, and then a round later apply against the temporary hit points of Stone Power, means that Stone Power pays for Lady’s Gambit’s hp loss while Lady’s Gambit’s attack bonus counteracts Stone Power’s attack penalty—with a net +5 damage and also triggering furious counterstrike. Not a great use of two feats but it does work.

      I would probably prefer Power Attack with a two-hander, but if for some reason you are insistent on not using a two-hander, Stone Power starts to look better.

  • empathic transfer psionic power (Expanded Psionics Handbook / SRD): Not a free action, but it can allow you to do two things at once: take damage and trigger furious counterstrike, and heal an ally at the same time. If you have Combat Reflexes and a reach weapon, your attacks of opportunity will still benefit.

    • Similar abilities like the shield other spell or share pain psionic power could also be useful to you. They have to be set-up and require some enemy cooperation, but they also don’t take actions away from you in the heat of the moment.
  • Overchannel feat (Expanded Psionics Handbook / SRD): Hurt yourself to augment your psionic powers. Could work with empathic transfer, with attacking powers, or with quicker psionic powers like psionic lion’s charge (a swift action) or grip of iron (an immediate action). If you go with Linked Power grip of ironsynchronicity cheese, you could make this incredibly efficient—probably broken (the Linked Power feat and synchronicity psionic power are from Complete Psionic). Requires that you be psionic, which you automatically would be if you had psionic powers to use with it.

    • Note that Tome of Battle has a couple of decent psionic feats, Instant Clarity and Psychic Renewal. The swift-action cost on each conflicts with your quick psionic powers and sublime boosts, though.
  • ready-drink helm magic item (Dragon vol. 294): Drink up to two potions as a free action, move action to add new potions. You could put a damaging potion in the helm to take damage. Costs just 150 gp, but potions are expensive.

  • Stigmata feat (Book of Exalted Deeds): As a free action, take Constitution damage—which reduces your hp. Ask your DM if that can be redirected to steely resolve; dubious but maybe. Anyway, the feat’s effect is to allow you to later touch allies to heal them based on how much Constitution damage you take. Between the doubtful nature of this trick and because Constitution damage is horribly dangerous, this isn’t seriously recommended. Requires the seriously-terrible Nimbus of Light feat (Book of Exalted Deeds).

Bonus: other things that benefit you for getting damaged

  • hostile empathic transfer psionic power (Expanded Psionics Handbook or SRD): The reverse of empathic transfer, transferring damage you have taken to someone else. If you have taken a bunch of damage, this can be a devastating attack.

  • Mark of Phlegethos feat (Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells): When you take damage, you gain a “pleasure point” you can spend as a swift action to get +4 on your next attack roll, saving throw, ability check, or skill check. Swift action sucks (free, to let you use a bunch of them every round, or immediate, to let you use it right when you need to make a save, would be far more useful), but you will be drowning in those points if you take it. Requires being a devil (!), the mediocre Brand of the Nine Hells feat (Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells), and allegiance to Belial or Fierna.

  • Pain Mastery feat (Savage Species): For every 50 (!) damage you take, gain +2 Strength until the end of the encounter, at which point you are exhausted (!). Not worth it since that is a small bonus after taking that much damage, and because exhaustion is absurdly debilitating (though it can be mitigated, e.g. with the horizon walker’s desert terrain mastery). Requires the Toughness feat.

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