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Situation: My warblade is swimming in the lake with no weapons or armor to save someone from drowning. A different demon-infested dude swims over to bite my guy. Can I still use Wall of Blades to counter the attack, although he is not holding a blade?

Maybe the broader question should be can you use maneuvers with an unarmed strike or do you need a weapon?

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Unarmed strike is certainly a valid choice for maneuvers. Unarmed swordsages are an official adaptation in the book, the master of the nine prestige class requires Improved Unarmed Strike, and the Snap Kick and Superior Unarmed Strike feats in the book directly improve one’s capability with unarmed strikes. Moreover, a lot of the flavor of the Sublime Way emphasizes that Reshar sought to train as a warrior in such a way as not to be bound to any single weapon.

As for wall of blades, however, it does say

you can initiate this counter to oppose that attack roll with any melee weapon you are holding.

While unarmed strikes are melee weapons, it’s tough to argue that you are holding them. Personally, I would allow it, but I can see why a DM would rule you could not, or as a compromise required you to have Improved Unarmed Strike to do so. I could even see someone houseruling that wall of blades with an unarmed strike provoked an attack of opportunity if you didn’t have Improved Unarmed Strike, largely (but not entirely) defeating the point of the maneuver (you might still want to use it if you could foil a heavily-boosted attack, and consider taking an un-boosted attack of opportunity a fair exchange).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "I could even see someone ruling that wall of blades with an unarmed strike provoked an attack of opportunity..." Which rules would support such a claim? \$\endgroup\$
    – Giorin
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 15:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Giorin None, that would be pure houserule. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, that relieves me on behalf of my Warblade character. \$\endgroup\$
    – Giorin
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 15:54

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