PDA

View Full Version : Melee Specialist [3.5 Base Class]



gooddragon1
2013-09-13, 01:50 AM
Melee Specialist
Some people like to carry around a cart full of weapons for each occasion. I need only one. -Unnamed melee specialist

GAME RULE INFORMATION
Melee specialists have the following game statistics.
Abilities: Strength is the most important ability score for a melee specialist as it is with many front line combatants. A close second is constitution as it allows him to take as well as he gives and helps his shatterpoint ability.
Alignment: Any.
Hit Die: d10
Starting Age: As Monk
Starting Gold: As Fighter.

Class Skills
The melee specialists class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at First Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|+1|+2|+0|+0|Chosen Weapon

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+0|Anti-Armor Strikes 1

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+1|Versatile Weapon Handling

4th|+4|+4|+1|+1|Bonus Feat

5th|+5|+4|+1|+1|Momentum (x2)

6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Shatterpoint 1/day

7th|+7/+2|+5|+2|+2|Improved Weapon Handling

8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Bonus Feat

9th|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3|Iron Grip

10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Anti-Armor Strikes 2

11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Shatterpoint 2/day

12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+4|Bonus Feat

13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+4|Greater Weapon Handling

14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Sunderguard

15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Momentum (x3)

16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5|Bonus Feat, Shatterpoint 3/day

17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Improved Shatterpoint

18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+6|Anti-Armor Strikes 3

19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Steel As Water

20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Bonus Feat, Perfect Weapon Handling

[/table]

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the melee specialist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies:
A melee specialist is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Chosen Weapon (Ex)

At 1st level, the melee specialist picks a 1 handed melee weapon which he has proficiency with (this choice may not be changed thereafter). He gains the weapon focus feat for that weapon and may treat it as a light weapon when beneficial.

Anti-Armor Strikes (Ex)

At 2nd level, a melee specialist ignores 1 point of natural armor, armor bonus, or shield bonus to armor class an opponent has while making an attack with his chosen weapon. This amount increases at 10th level and every 8 levels thereafter. Example: an opponent has a natural armor class of +1 and is wearing leather armor with an armor bonus of +2 while you are 10th level, the result is that you treat his armor class as 11 instead of 13.

Versatile Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 3rd level, a melee specialist can use his chosen weapon to deal other types of damage than what it normally deals. As a swift action, the melee specialist may choose to deal bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, or some combination of these types of damage with his weapon (the player must justify how he is dealing this damage such as hitting with the flat of the blade of a sword for bludgeoning). The damage dice of the weapon is reduced by 1 step as though it was 1 size smaller while using this ability due to reduced effectiveness.

Bonus Feat (Ex)

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter the melee specialist may take a fighter bonus feat. He is treated as a fighter of level equal to his melee specialist level - 2 for the purpose of feats that require fighter levels. In the case of feats that require fighter levels with respect to a particular weapon (such as weapon specialization) he is treated as a fighter of level equal to his melee specialist level for the purpose of his chosen weapon.

Momentum (Ex)

At 5th level, while employing only his chosen weapon in combat, with only his primary hand (not 2 handed or two weapon fighting), and while not wearing heavier than medium armor a melee specialist may add twice his strength modifier to damage rolls with his chosen weapon (this overlaps the normal addition of strength modifier). At 15th level and every 10 levels after the amount of damage from the melee specialist's strength modifier added is increased by 1 multiple (x3 at 15th, x4 at 25th, etc.).

Shatterpoint (Ex)

At 6th level, a melee specialist can enter a focused state, known as shatterpoint, as a free action once per day which allows him to sense and exploit weaknesses in otherwise unassailable targets. When the melee specialist first enters shatterpoint he makes an unmodified concentration check (ranks+con modifier only) and uses the result of this check to determine the effectiveness of his attacks against certain defenses. If the melee specialist attacks a target, while using his chosen weapon, with damage reduction or hardness he ignores 1/4 of the result of his concentration check (rounded down) worth of hardness and damage reduction (if the target somehow has both it applies to each separately). Shatterpoint lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + Con Modifier, can only be used once per encounter, and fatigues the melee specialist afterwards. A melee specialist cannot use this ability and rage (or any similar ability) at the same time and attacks gained from sources other than base attack bonus (such as haste) do not benefit from this ability. At 11th level and every 5 levels thereafter the melee specialist gains an additional use of this ability per day.

Improved Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 7th level, a melee specialist can make nonlethal attacks and attacks while prone with his chosen weapon without taking a -4 penalty on the attack roll.

Iron Grip (Ex)

At 9th level, a melee specialist becomes difficult to disarm of his chosen weapon. The melee specialist may make 2 rolls and take the higher result when resisting a disarming attempt with his chosen weapon. Furthermore, the opponent gains no benefit from differences in size and the melee specialist gains a +10 bonus on resisting disarming attempts as though he was wearing a locked gauntlet (this does not stack with the bonus a locked gauntlet would provide).

Greater Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 13th level, a melee specialist using his chosen weapon can make a opposed concentration check against an enemy attempting to tumble through an area that would provoke an attack of opportunity by him. If the melee specialist is successful he may take that attack of opportunity as normal. Furthermore, the melee specialist takes no penalties to attack and damage rolls while fighting underwater with his chosen weapon.

Sunderguard (Ex)

At 14th level, a melee specialists chosen weapon becomes difficult to sunder or otherwise damage. The melee specialist may make 2 rolls and take the higher result against any sunder attempt or on any save to protect his chosen weapon and these rolls are made at a +5 bonus. The melee specialists weapon also gains a +5 bonus to armor class against being targeted by attacks that would affect it.

Improved Shatterpoint (Su)

At 17th level, while in shatterpoint a melee specialist wielding his chosen weapon may make an unmodified concentration check (ranks + con modifier) when attacking a creature with a special quality other than damage reduction (regeneration, swarm traits, incorporeal, etc.) that would negatively modify his attack with respect to hitting or dealing damage (the DM may adjudicate this ability to not be effective in rare cases such as the tarrasque). If the result of his check exceeds the targets CR + 11 he can attack and deal damage normally to the target. The result of this check lasts only for 1 round and only for the target the check was made for (thus he must make new checks in subsequent rounds or against new targets).

Steel As Water (Ex)

At 19th level, a melee specialist wielding his chosen weapon may strike his opponents as though their defenses (or steel) were no more effective at preventing his attacks than a thin layer of water. Once per day, the melee specialist may resolves his attacks with his chosen weapon as touch attacks for one round.

Perfect Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 20th level, a melee specialist gains a mastery of his chosen weapon that most others cannot even understand. Iterative attacks with his chosen weapon are made at -2 increments rather than -5, he rerolls all natural 1's for attack rolls while using his chosen weapon (if the result of a reroll is a 1 he rerolls until he does not recieve a 1), he does not suffer penalties from the effects of fatigue or exhaustion with respect to his weapon attack and damage rolls, any miss chances he would suffer are reduced by 20% (to a minimum of 0%), and improved shatterpoint becomes an extraordinary ability.

===

A nice simple-ish class that focuses more than even a fighter on one weapon. My main question here is: is this better than a fighter as a combatant? An additional question is would you take this class to 20 or would you dip and break at some point?

I know it has dead levels but I'm really more interested in the answers to the two above questions.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2013-09-13, 09:43 AM
Forward: This critique will be bluntly honest, but I mean no disrespect to you in the process. I feel that straightforward critique is an important part o the design process and, although I may tear into parts of your creation, I will be more than happy to be a sounding board for improvements and/or changes.

Anyway...Begin critique.

I, for one, would not take this class for one level*, let alone 20. There simply isn't enough meat on the class framework. The class features can be summed up as Weapon Focus, +3 to attack rolls (via Anti-Armor Strikes), 4 bonus feats, some extra damage, and a capstone. Over 20 levels.

*I would take a 1-level dip on certain Fighter builds only because I'd grab more skill points, +2 extra to my Fort save, and a free "treat as a light weapon when beneficial" along with my Weapon Focus. I would then switch out to something else.

It's a relatively flat class that ultimately probably ends up a bit below the Fighter, as feats can typically make up the damage difference and offer more flexibility to boot.

So with that established, let's ask a few questions to give us some room to expand upon this class.

What can this class do that a Fighter can't?
This lets us know why this class is important, and how it should differ from the other "Versatile Master-at-Arms" class. If we can't answer this one we might want to look at making this a Fighter revision or a prestige class rather than a base class.

Imagine this class in combat (I.e. visualize a cinematic fight scene). What can it do?
I find this helps a LOT with ability design for combat classes. What and how does it fight? As written it just smacks things extra hard with one weapon. What else could it do? What else represents a weapon master?

How powerful should this be?
Ate you aiming for low-tier balance (Fighter, Paladin, Samurai, etc) or high-tier balance (Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Artificer)? Or are you aiming straight down the middle (Bard, Warblade, Rogue, etc)?

There are more questions to ask, but this will give us a solid basis for starting to flesh out the concept and the core abilities.

gooddragon1
2013-09-13, 07:48 PM
What can this class do that a Fighter can't?
This lets us know why this class is important, and how it should differ from the other "Versatile Master-at-Arms" class. If we can't answer this one we might want to look at making this a Fighter revision or a prestige class rather than a base class.

Imagine this class in combat (I.e. visualize a cinematic fight scene). What can it do?
I find this helps a LOT with ability design for combat classes. What and how does it fight? As written it just smacks things extra hard with one weapon. What else could it do? What else represents a weapon master?

How powerful should this be?
Ate you aiming for low-tier balance (Fighter, Paladin, Samurai, etc) or high-tier balance (Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Artificer)? Or are you aiming straight down the middle (Bard, Warblade, Rogue, etc)?

There are more questions to ask, but this will give us a solid basis for starting to flesh out the concept and the core abilities.

1>Be a simple class that can deal respectable damage without dipping into several different classes and items across many books.

2>That's pretty much it. It goes on the front line and hits things hard so that the enemy focuses on it rather than the squishies at the back.

3>Low-tier balance while still having respectable damage output.

Network
2013-09-13, 08:06 PM
Momentum (Ex)

At 5th level, while employing only his chosen weapon in combat, with only his primary hand (not 2 handed or two weapon fighting), and while not wearing heavier than medium armor a melee specialist may add twice his strength modifier to damage rolls with his chosen weapon (this overlaps the normal addition of strength modifier). At 15th level and every 10 levels after the amount of damage from the melee specialist's strength modifier added is increased by 1 multiple (x3 at 15th, x4 at 25th, etc.).
Good, but some feats can multiply the damage output more effectively, at least on a charge.

Perfect Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 20th level, a melee specialist gains a mastery of his chosen weapon that most others cannot even understand. Iterative attacks with his chosen weapon are made at -2 increments rather than -5, he rerolls all natural 1's for attack rolls while using his chosen weapon (if the result of a reroll is a 1 he rerolls until he does not recieve a 1), he does not suffer penalties from the effects of fatigue or exhaustion with respect to his weapon attack and damage rolls, and any miss chances he would suffer are reduced by 20% (to a minimum of 0%).
The problem with this class feature is that it comes out of nowhere. If the only worthwhile abilities of a class are the 1st and 20th level one, something is really wrong.

A nice simple-ish class that focuses more than even a fighter on one weapon. My main question here is: is this better than a fighter as a combatant? An additional question is would you take this class to 20 or would you dip and break at some point?

I know it has dead levels but I'm really more interested in the answers to the two above questions.
It's worse than a fighter at any level except 20th, where the classe gets an unexplanable power boost. As Djinn_in_Tonic mentioned, this class is better for a dip than it is in the long run, and most characters can't afford to suck for 18 consecutive levels.

Hanuman
2013-09-13, 10:30 PM
The class generally doesn't have any flavor nor viability, it appears to be a tier6 NPC class.

Network
2013-09-13, 10:45 PM
The class generally doesn't have any flavor nor viability, it appears to be a tier6 NPC class.
I'd say tier 5. It's better than a warrior in a way that is enough to make the class somewhat useful to an adventuring party (decent class skills for a scout, fighter chassis, and some bonus feats to fill in the gaps), though a dedicated fighter end up better if he selects his feats well.

I take note of the Anti-Armor Strike ability though. Do you mind if I make it a feat?

gooddragon1
2013-09-13, 11:15 PM
I'd say tier 5. It's better than a warrior in a way that is enough to make the class somewhat useful to an adventuring party (decent class skills for a scout, fighter chassis, and some bonus feats to fill in the gaps), though a dedicated fighter end up better if he selects his feats well.

I take note of the Anti-Armor Strike ability though. Do you mind if I make it a feat?

Eh. Someone already suggested I do that with it and momentum so okay I guess.

On a separate note: I just wanted a nice simple class with a good amount of power that could whack stuff. I never wanted tier 1 so tier 5 is okay. Does the last ability (20th lvl) bump the tier up to 4 or higher though at least?

The Mentalist
2013-09-13, 11:44 PM
On a separate note: I just wanted a nice simple class with a good amount of power that could whack stuff. I never wanted tier 1 so tier 5 is okay. Does the last ability (20th lvl) bump the tier up to 4 or higher though at least?

Ehh... not really. Tier 5 means it's out-shined by other things even at what it's supposed to do. That it doesn't even function as a good beatstick.

The capstone means basically nothing in terms of power, it comes too late to matter and by the time you get it Fighters are Ubercharging or Chaintripping or hell even grappling and outdoing your full-attack's damage output, Rogues are sneak attacking and if they land even one are outdoing your entire damage. Clerics are Divine Powering and being better than this entire class. We won't even get into what Wizards and Druids are doing.

It needs a way to penetrate DR of other types since it sucks without its one and only weapon. It needs increased damage (perhaps treat its special weapon as a larger size for every three levels in the class). It REALLY needs something to do other than stand still and full attack. (Special abilities based on weapon type [See Exotic Weapon Master] could be useful) It needs something to fill in the 10-14 (depending on how you count them) dead levels. It needs the complete weapon focus line (improved critical, specialization, greater focus, greater specialization, maybe even some of the epic feats in that chain)


At the moment this class is better represented by 4 feats that are able to be taken as Fighter bonus feats and not as a class. It needs something to do for half of its levels and it needs to do something that the fighter can't.

gooddragon1
2013-09-14, 02:13 AM
I included a way to get around DR at 6th level and an interesting (in my opinion) ability at 3rd level. The class was meant to go up and full attack not do other stuff really.

One may only guess where I got the name shatterpoint from...

Added some abilities to make it more difficult to damage or disarm the character of his chosen weapon.

No dead levels and some more cool stuff added. I basically asked myself: When does a melee attacker run into penalties or something he can't do.

Hanuman
2013-09-14, 03:02 AM
This is starting to shape more into a Warrior's Way sohei, which would be a decent re-flavoring for more of a fighter approach.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192596

gooddragon1
2013-09-14, 03:30 AM
This is starting to shape more into a Warrior's Way sohei, which would be a decent re-flavoring for more of a fighter approach.

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192596

I don't know if he'd add this class to that list and I'm too afraid to ask.

Also made an epic feat:

Shattered Steel [Epic]

Prerequisites: Steel As Water class feature, Shatterpoint class feature, Character level 24th, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Base Attack Bonus +20.

Benefit: You may sacrifice a use per day of your Shatterpoint ability to use Steel As Water an additional time per day for each use per day of Shatterpoint sacrificed. This sacrifice is made as a free action and lasts until the beginning of the next day.

Normal: You can only use Steel As Water once per day.

Special: You can only sacrifice uses of Shatterpoint that you gain from class levels and not from other sources.

Hanuman
2013-09-14, 03:35 AM
I don't know if he'd add this class to that list and I'm too afraid to ask.
o.o



No I mean you should check that content out for inspiration on how to improve the class features and general role of your class.

gooddragon1
2013-09-14, 03:46 AM
o.o



No I mean you should check that content out for inspiration on how to improve the class features and general role of your class.

I looked at that and I mainly wanted this guy to focus on his weapon rather than the required abilities to survive for paranoid players (immunities, SR, etc.). He can get that from items if the DM really wants. This guy's focus is on his weapon and only that... and it is legendary. Just the flavor of an Su ability becoming an Ex... tingly.

Edit: Monks get perfect self and this guy gets perfect weapon handling. What the monk does with their spirit and body this guy does with his weapon.

The Mentalist
2013-09-14, 11:06 AM
I looked at that and I mainly wanted this guy to focus on his weapon rather than the required abilities to survive...This guy's focus is on his weapon and only that... and it is legendary. Just the flavor of an Su ability becoming an Ex... tingly.

Edit: Monks get perfect self and this guy gets perfect weapon handling. What the monk does with their spirit and body this guy does with his weapon.


And that's a really cool idea that we've seen thousands of times in films and in books and would be a really cool thing to bring into D&D but this class does not do this as it stands and I will go feature by feature and explain to the best of my ability why.




Class Skills
The melee specialists class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Thank you for adding Spot and Listen to class skills, I hate it when people don't do that.

Skill Points at First Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|+1|+2|+0|+0|Chosen Weapon

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+0|Anti-Armor Strikes 1

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+1|Versatile Weapon Handling

4th|+4|+4|+1|+1|Bonus Feat

5th|+5|+4|+1|+1|Momentum (x2)

6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Shatterpoint 1/day

7th|+7/+2|+5|+2|+2|Improved Weapon Handling

8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Bonus Feat

9th|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3|Iron Grip

10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Anti-Armor Strikes 2

11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Shatterpoint 2/day

12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+4|Bonus Feat

13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+4|Greater Weapon Handling

14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Sunderguard

15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Momentum (x3)

16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5|Bonus Feat, Shatterpoint 3/day

17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Improved Shatterpoint

18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+6|Anti-Armor Strikes 3

19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Steel As Water

20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Bonus Feat, Perfect Weapon Handling

[/table]

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the melee specialist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies:
A melee specialist is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Chosen Weapon (Ex)

At 1st level, the melee specialist picks a 1 handed melee weapon which he has proficiency with (this choice may not be changed thereafter). He gains the weapon focus feat for that weapon and may treat it as a light weapon when beneficial.

This is a very limited choice. No quarterstaves, no spears, this limits a lot of possible designs for this class and I don't see a balance reason for it. Another idea as a "Weapon Specialist" may be to make it treated as two-handed or light when beneficial.

Anti-Armor Strikes (Ex)

At 2nd level, a melee specialist ignores 1 point of natural armor, armor bonus, or shield bonus to armor class an opponent has while making an attack with his chosen weapon. This amount increases at 10th level and every 8 levels thereafter. Example: an opponent has a natural armor class of +1 and is wearing leather armor with an armor bonus of +2 while you are 10th level, the result is that you treat his armor class as 11 instead of 13.

So at most a +6 to hit over 18 levels... This sucks. It's the only class feature you get for two levels and its no better than a second weapon focus. Now there are ways to execute this sort of thing better (maybe a Swift action to reduce Armor or Natural armor bonus by 1/2 Class Level or something of the sort) but at the moment it's a mediocre static feature.


Versatile Weapon Handling (Ex)
At 3rd level, a melee specialist can use his chosen weapon to deal other types of damage than what it normally deals. As a swift action, the melee specialist may choose to deal bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, or some combination of these types of damage with his weapon (the player must justify how he is dealing this damage such as hitting with the flat of the blade of a sword for bludgeoning). The damage dice of the weapon is reduced by 1 step as though it was 1 size smaller while using this ability due to reduced effectiveness.

Okay. It fills a hole to make sure he's not crippled against a combined horde of skeletons and zombies but again, entirely uninteresting. This character is three levels in and he has nothing that makes him special.

Bonus Feat (Ex)

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter the melee specialist may take a fighter bonus feat. He is treated as a fighter of level equal to his melee specialist level - 2 for the purpose of feats that require fighter levels. In the case of feats that require fighter levels with respect to a particular weapon (such as weapon specialization) he is treated as a fighter of level equal to his melee specialist level for the purpose of his chosen weapon.

This character is now in my mind a Fighter with half of his bonus feats picked out for him.

Momentum (Ex)

At 5th level, while employing only his chosen weapon in combat, with only his primary hand (not 2 handed or two weapon fighting), and while not wearing heavier than medium armor a melee specialist may add twice his strength modifier to damage rolls with his chosen weapon (this overlaps the normal addition of strength modifier). At 15th level and every 10 levels after the amount of damage from the melee specialist's strength modifier added is increased by 1 multiple (x3 at 15th, x4 at 25th, etc.).

This is actually cool, but we're five levels in and it's another static modifier, and only slightly more than you would get from just wielding the weapon two-handed.

Shatterpoint (Ex)

At 6th level, a melee specialist can enter a focused state, known as shatterpoint, as a free action once per day which allows him to sense and exploit weaknesses in otherwise unassailable targets. When the melee specialist first enters shatterpoint he makes an unmodified concentration check (ranks+con modifier only) and uses the result of this check to determine the effectiveness of his attacks against certain defenses. If the melee specialist attacks a target, while using his chosen weapon, with damage reduction or hardness he ignores 1/4 of the result of his concentration check (rounded down) worth of hardness and damage reduction (if the target somehow has both it applies to each separately). Shatterpoint lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + Con Modifier, can only be used once per encounter, and fatigues the melee specialist afterwards.


This is another situational ability that does VERY little for the character overall.



A melee specialist cannot use this ability and rage (or any similar ability) at the same time and attacks gained from sources other than base attack bonus (such as haste) do not benefit from this ability.


I just have to jump out here and ask why?



At 11th level and every 5 levels thereafter the melee specialist gains an additional use of this ability per day.

The uses per day need to go up faster. I would place it at a similar climb to a rage.

Improved Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 7th level, a melee specialist can make nonlethal attacks and attacks while prone with his chosen weapon without taking a -4 penalty on the attack roll.

Again. VERY situational things. That give the character nothing special. Overcoming penalties is not a fun ability for a class to get and that's what half of these abilities have been, overcoming things that make the class not work.

Iron Grip (Ex)

At 9th level, a melee specialist becomes difficult to disarm of his chosen weapon. The melee specialist may make 2 rolls and take the higher result when resisting a disarming attempt with his chosen weapon. Furthermore, the opponent gains no benefit from differences in size and the melee specialist gains a +10 bonus on resisting disarming attempts as though he was wearing a locked gauntlet (this does not stack with the bonus a locked gauntlet would provide).

You could have just said Immune to Disarm here and we would have been just as happy but I say the same thing I've said before, situational ability that only helps to patch the holes in the base of this class.

Greater Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 13th level, a melee specialist using his chosen weapon can make a opposed concentration check against an enemy attempting to tumble through an area that would provoke an attack of opportunity by him. If the melee specialist is successful he may take that attack of opportunity as normal. Furthermore, the melee specialist takes no penalties to attack and damage rolls while fighting underwater with his chosen weapon.

NOW THIS IS COOL! It comes kind of late and I think you mean a Concentration check opposed by their Tumble but this is a golden little ability so far. The damage under water is again filling situational holes.

Sunderguard (Ex)

At 14th level, a melee specialists chosen weapon becomes difficult to sunder or otherwise damage. The melee specialist may make 2 rolls and take the higher result against any sunder attempt or on any save to protect his chosen weapon and these rolls are made at a +5 bonus. The melee specialists weapon also gains a +5 bonus to armor class against being targeted by attacks that would affect it.

Again, we would have been just as happy with immunity here. Does anyone actually Sunder at table anyway?

Improved Shatterpoint (Su)

At 17th level, while in shatterpoint a melee specialist wielding his chosen weapon may make an unmodified concentration check (ranks + con modifier) when attacking a creature with an unusual defense that would ordinarily make his attacks unable to land an attack or deal damage (such as swarm traits, incorporeality, or an oozes ability to split but not regeneration). If the result of his check exceeds the targets CR + 11 he can attack and deal damage normally to the target. The result of this check lasts only for 1 round and only for the target the check was made for (thus he must make new checks in subsequent rounds or against new targets).

Now this is cool, again it comes REALLY late and you only get it three times per day at this level.

Steel As Water (Ex)

At 19th level, a melee specialist wielding his chosen weapon may strike his opponents as though their defenses (or steel) were no more effective at preventing his attacks than a thin layer of water. Once per day, the melee specialist may resolves his attacks with his chosen weapon as touch attacks for one round.

Wraithstrike once a day. Not really all that effective as a 19th level ability.

Perfect Weapon Handling (Ex)

At 20th level, a melee specialist gains a mastery of his chosen weapon that most others cannot even understand. Iterative attacks with his chosen weapon are made at -2 increments rather than -5, he rerolls all natural 1's for attack rolls while using his chosen weapon (if the result of a reroll is a 1 he rerolls until he does not recieve a 1), he does not suffer penalties from the effects of fatigue or exhaustion with respect to his weapon attack and damage rolls, any miss chances he would suffer are reduced by 20% (to a minimum of 0%), and improved shatterpoint becomes an extraordinary ability.

And we've climbed through 20 levels to get a +3 to one attack a +6 to the next attack and a +9 to our third attack. Which is a nice option but not worth the 20 levels of basically filling holes instead of building something new.


What I'm kind of asking myself is where's the knocking arrows (and later even spells) out of the air to deal with ranged attacks, where's status effects (stun, nausea) from beating your momentum enhanced weapon down on their head or stomach as a standard action, where's throwing his weapon so he can hit the guy he can't reach otherwise, where's the tripping and disarming of his own, where are the options? (and yes, I know you want a simple class. Options don't mean it can't be simple. It just means it has something to do other than twiddling his thumbs in all situations.)

Stand and full-attack is not fun to play even when it's going well and it's far too easy to shut down. This character needs something to do other that or a way to do that well (such as a Move and Full-attack option, extra attacks during a full attack, extra damage, [which he does not have enough of] a way to negate any of the million and one lockdowns that prevent full-attacks) but even beyond needing ways to be able to make his shtick work, he needs a way to make it fun.

If all you want it to do is make full-attacks then it needs a way to be able to make those reliably, it needs to keep enemies from moving or be able to move and still make a full attack (Though maybe not full-on pounce), he needs a way to deal with flying creatures and creatures who are more mobile than he is (which is most of them) it needs a way to do more than to overcome "penalties or something he can't do." he needs something TO do.

This guy isn't a melee weapon specialist at the moment. He's a guy who can make a mediocre attack in more situations.

Network
2013-09-14, 01:19 PM
Aside from The Mentalist's comments, I'd say Shatterpoint and Improved Shatterpoint are bad in design. Ignoring damage reduction /- with a very physical weapon is never justifiable IMO, and Improved Shatterpoint is nothing more than a ''screw you, IKEA Tarasque'' that only remotely match the fluff of the class, and it isn't even clear what constitute unusual defense and what doesn't. Total cover certainly is (which is weird, as the defender would then benefit more from a partial cover), but does distance, invisibility, a wall of force or the Divine Dodge SDA qualify as unusual defense that make your attacks unable to land? If so, you definitely went overbroad with it.

gooddragon1
2013-09-14, 01:42 PM
Aside from The Mentalist's comments, I'd say Shatterpoint and Improved Shatterpoint are bad in design. Ignoring damage reduction /- with a very physical weapon is never justifiable IMO, and Improved Shatterpoint is nothing more than a ''screw you, IKEA Tarasque'' that only remotely match the fluff of the class, and it isn't even clear what constitute unusual defense and what doesn't. Total cover certainly is (which is weird, as the defender would then benefit more from a partial cover), but does distance, invisibility, a wall of force or the Divine Dodge SDA qualify as unusual defense that make your attacks unable to land? If so, you definitely went overbroad with it.

Sense Weakness (http://dndtools.eu/feats/draconomicon--92/sense-weakness--3263/)

Qualities of the target are overcome, not qualities of barriers or obstacles between them.

Hanuman
2013-09-14, 02:13 PM
What it boils down to is:

You're making a fighter ACF.

This falls into the same category as fighter fixes, which are one of the biggest age-old debates in dnd homebrew.

What this means is, hunt around, read the warlord from Warrior's Way, read grod's fix http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=276280

There's a lot of content and inspiration that will allow you to come to a tier 3 or 4 fighter which has definitive flavor that you and other people would actually play.

Network
2013-09-14, 03:27 PM
Sense Weakness (http://dndtools.eu/feats/draconomicon--92/sense-weakness--3263/)

Qualities of the target are overcome, not qualities of barriers or obstacles between them.
Forgot about that feat, and I probably overestimated the ability along the way, though if there's already a feat that do it at will, why bother making a class feature that do it only a limited number of times per day?

The ability doesn't mention that. It just ''a creature with an unusual defense that would ordinarily make his attacks unable to land an attack or deal damage''. Cover is a form of defense, and so are pretty much everything I listed. Even if the defense had to originate from the target (which isn't the case by RAW), do the total cover originating from a tower shield count as such? In fact, one may even argue that AC counts as an unusual defense that would ordinarily make you unable to attack.

gooddragon1
2013-09-16, 03:50 PM
Forgot about that feat, and I probably overestimated the ability along the way, though if there's already a feat that do it at will, why bother making a class feature that do it only a limited number of times per day?

The ability doesn't mention that. It just ''a creature with an unusual defense that would ordinarily make his attacks unable to land an attack or deal damage''. Cover is a form of defense, and so are pretty much everything I listed. Even if the defense had to originate from the target (which isn't the case by RAW), do the total cover originating from a tower shield count as such? In fact, one may even argue that AC counts as an unusual defense that would ordinarily make you unable to attack.

Finally thought of something to fix that second problem:


Improved Shatterpoint (Su)

At 17th level, while in shatterpoint a melee specialist wielding his chosen weapon may make an unmodified concentration check (ranks + con modifier) when attacking a creature with a special quality other than damage reduction (regeneration, swarm traits, incorporeal, etc.) that would negatively modify his attack with respect to hitting or dealing damage (the DM may adjudicate this ability to not be effective in rare cases such as the tarrasque). If the result of his check exceeds the targets CR + 11 he can attack and deal damage normally to the target. The result of this check lasts only for 1 round and only for the target the check was made for (thus he must make new checks in subsequent rounds or against new targets).

How does that look?

Network
2013-09-16, 05:32 PM
How does that look?
That look good, actually. I do have one criticism though (which I should have told earlier, but somehow forgot to) : I don't think CR should be used mechanically*. If you could make the DC of the check equal to the target's HD (instead of CR +11), that would be perfect.

* Not that it hasn't been done in the past, but it's rarely done well or given any explanation. Improved Shatterpoint isn't as bad an offender as most, but it doesn't justify the use of CR. Unless there's already a feat that do that; I may be proved wrong again.

gooddragon1
2013-09-16, 05:57 PM
That look good, actually. I do have one criticism though (which I should have told earlier, but somehow forgot to) : I don't think CR should be used mechanically*. If you could make the DC of the check equal to the target's HD (instead of CR +11), that would be perfect.

* Not that it hasn't been done in the past, but it's rarely done well or given any explanation. Improved Shatterpoint isn't as bad an offender as most, but it doesn't justify the use of CR. Unless there's already a feat that do that; I may be proved wrong again.

The reason for that is you get things with 40 HD and 10 CR or something (extreme example). That's also why it's a mostly unmodified concentration check (ranks+con mod).

Thunderfist12
2013-09-16, 06:04 PM
I have a suggestion.

Maybe the class could have a melee dice pool, similar to the monk's unarmed strike?

Just because I read it was tier 5, and I feel sorry for those classes.

Belial_the_Leveler
2013-09-16, 06:16 PM
The critique is mostly going to be a series of questions whose answers explain the main points where IMHO this class is found wanting;


Does it have multiple active abilities?
Active abilities, as in "abilities that provide different effects the player can choose to use in combat" make a class interesting to play. As with many "mundane" combat classes, this one doesn't. In combat what it does is basically standard attacks and full attacks with maybe one or two situational abilities. Think the class as a deck of cards in a game; with this one a player's game plan is "I'm spamming these two cards that deal direct damage and occasionally use this third card that makes it easier to do direct damage". And that's fairly boring in comparison to, say, Tome of Battle classes or Warlocks who have dozens of choices.

Does it have multiple build options?
Lots of build options a) make the class fun to build, b) allow it to better cover different character concepts and c) add replayability value because not every character with this class will have the same build or work the same. Again, think the class as a deck of cards; if the deck is chosen for you from the beginning and always has the same cards in the same order, any card game you play with it will become repetitive and boring. The fun of building your own deck and pitting it against different decks is taken out of the game with preset decks. Same with this class IMHO.

Does it offer something new and exciting?
So far, it doesn't really offer something that can't be done with, say, a fighter. Can't be disarmed? Use a locker or spiked gauntlet. Can't be sundered? Use riverine weapons, or hardened+magically treated adamantine weapons. Only the "ignore special defenses" ability is really unique. And it's only one ability.




In short, before balance comes into play you got to take into account whether the class is fun and exciting to play which, IMHO, it isn't much. As for balance, concentration check for a CR 20 would be 31. Ranks at level 20 will be 23 for a class skill, and ability bonus for an average constitution score (14+6 item) will be +5 for a total of 28. So he only fails the concentration check for his special ability on a 1 or 2. If he actually has a good constitution score to boost his HP, he will never fail the check at all.

So the check is largely irrelevant in most cases.

gooddragon1
2013-09-16, 07:10 PM
The critique is mostly going to be a series of questions whose answers explain the main points where IMHO this class is found wanting;


Does it have multiple active abilities?
Active abilities, as in "abilities that provide different effects the player can choose to use in combat" make a class interesting to play. As with many "mundane" combat classes, this one doesn't. In combat what it does is basically standard attacks and full attacks with maybe one or two situational abilities. Think the class as a deck of cards in a game; with this one a player's game plan is "I'm spamming these two cards that deal direct damage and occasionally use this third card that makes it easier to do direct damage". And that's fairly boring in comparison to, say, Tome of Battle classes or Warlocks who have dozens of choices.

Does it have multiple build options?
Lots of build options a) make the class fun to build, b) allow it to better cover different character concepts and c) add replayability value because not every character with this class will have the same build or work the same. Again, think the class as a deck of cards; if the deck is chosen for you from the beginning and always has the same cards in the same order, any card game you play with it will become repetitive and boring. The fun of building your own deck and pitting it against different decks is taken out of the game with preset decks. Same with this class IMHO.

Does it offer something new and exciting?
So far, it doesn't really offer something that can't be done with, say, a fighter. Can't be disarmed? Use a locker or spiked gauntlet. Can't be sundered? Use riverine weapons, or hardened+magically treated adamantine weapons. Only the "ignore special defenses" ability is really unique. And it's only one ability.




In short, before balance comes into play you got to take into account whether the class is fun and exciting to play which, IMHO, it isn't much. As for balance, concentration check for a CR 20 would be 31. Ranks at level 20 will be 23 for a class skill, and ability bonus for an average constitution score (14+6 item) will be +5 for a total of 28. So he only fails the concentration check for his special ability on a 1 or 2. If he actually has a good constitution score to boost his HP, he will never fail the check at all.

So the check is largely irrelevant in most cases.

-It's meant to be a more or less simple class (with no dead levels...). I always wanted to play simple but effective but never could find the right build and was always annoyed at how many books you'd have to go through to get it. I'm assuming there are a few others with this mentality and have built this class for them... and me. Also, I know spellcasters are powerful I just don't like playing them all that much.

-Again, simple is the operative word here. However, I do see a point here. I might make variants in the future or do something as repetition becomes boring eventually.

-Not really new and exciting so much as it allows a melee character to function almost entirely within the class features without needing other books. Extreme example: Fighting an incorporeal golem swarm with 100 natural armor in an antimagic field 3 miles wide (that curiously isn't causing the golem swarm to wink out)? No problem (assuming you can finish it off in a full attack action). More likely you are faced with fighting a swarm or something and don't want to have to rely on low damage from energy enhancements or needing another book to deal with them.

As for the CR thing, for the most part yes it should work except on a low roll but that assumes you come across the items to get your Con that high or you did other optimization. I'd argue that with optimization then you should just go warblade and not worry about it. If you're dealing with a CR +2 above yours you'll need a little more luck but not much. The point is that it should function almost always but has a chance to fail until much later or if it is highly optimized. I figure players using homebrew should come to a gentleman's agreement and I left a caveat for a DM if they have a truly unique reason for making it not work.


I have a suggestion.

Maybe the class could have a melee dice pool, similar to the monk's unarmed strike?

Just because I read it was tier 5, and I feel sorry for those classes.

It's already dealing reasonable damage. It was only tier 5 because of being narrow I think.