View Full Version : [Class Variant] Stance Fighter, credit to Yakk

2007-06-11, 09:31 PM
Note: This class variant was originally designed by Yakk with the idea of increasing the Fighter class's effectiveness by augmenting its impressive feat list and increasing its versatility. I have reformatted the class (into standard base class format), tweaked it further, and reproduced it here with Yakk's permission.

Please, tell me what you think of the variant, and whether or not you would use it in a campaign.

Stance Fighter

The Stance Fighter is a well trained combatant who has mastered a variety of different fighting styles and techniques. To whatever purposes such a Fighter puts his skill in combat, his versatility and adaptability are unmatched.

Game Rules Information

Alignment: Any.
Hit Dice: d10.

Class Skills
Climb, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Ride, and Swim.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) X 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Stance Fighter is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all armor, and with shields (including tower shields).

Stance Bonus Feats: At 1st and 2nd level, a Stance Fighter receives a bonus feat chosen from the Fighter Bonus Feat list. He receives additional Stance Bonus Feats at every even level after that, choosing one feat for each Stance available to him. He must meet all normal prerequisites for any feats he chooses.

Stances: At 3rd level the Stance Fighter acquires two separate Stances. Stances are sets of feats. When the Fighter gains a Stance Bonus Feat, he picks a different feat for each Stance available to him (or the same feat, if he chooses). Each Stance Bonus Feat is a separate bonus feat for each Stance he possesses (thus, no single bonus feat is active all the time unless the Fighter has chosen it for all of his available Stances). For example, a 4th level Fighter has two Stances, each with 3 separate feats.

A Fighter can only have one Stance active at a time. Changing between Stances is usually a Standard Action -- so a character can change weapons, change Stances, and make a standard move as a Full Round Action starting from level 3. Fighters are encouraged to name their Stances.

The Fighter gains additional Stances at levels 7, 11, and 15. Stances start out as copies of a previous Stance with 1/2 of the Stance Bonus Feats changed. For the Stances gained at 3rd level, treat the two Stance Bonus Feats gained by the Fighter at levels 1 and 2 as one Stance, and give him a second Stance with one bonus feat changed.

Beginning at level 4, every level the Fighter does not gain a new Stance he can pick exactly one feat in exactly one Stance, and change it to a different feat of his choice from the Fighter Bonus Feat list. Usually a Fighter changes the Stance he learned most recently, but he can also change a Stance learned earlier.

Feats gained from being Human, from being a level 1, 3, 6, 9, etc. character, or from other classes are not Stance Bonus Feats, and are treated normally. Feats that are not Stance Bonus Feats are active regardless of what Stance the Fighter is in.

Additional Stance Notes: When building a higher level character, you can assume that Stances before the latest one gained can be completely unlinked, and share as many or as few feats with other Stances as you desire. There are enough chances to change feats around in the levels between gaining Stances.

Out of combat, a Stance Fighter should indicate a default Stance for each of his weapon loads, and should be assumed to be in that Stance unless otherwise mentioned.

For a feat to work, all of the prerequisite feats must be available. So, while it is possible to have Weapon Specialization (Longsword) without Weapon Focus (Longsword) under the above system, it doesn't do the Fighter any good.

Lightning Shift: Starting at level 5, the Stance Fighter gains the ability to change Stances as a Swift Action once per day. At levels 9, 13 and 17, the Fighter gains the ability to do this an additional time each day.

At level 19 the Fighter may change Stances as a Swift Action once per encounter in addition to his allowance each day.

Fort |
Ref |
Will |Special

+0|Stance Bonus Feat X 1

+0|Stance Bonus Feat X 2

+1|Stance X 2

+1|Stance Bonus Feat X 3

+1|Lightning Shift (1/day)

+2|Stance Bonus Feat X 4

+2|Stance X 3

+2|Stance Bonus Feat X 5

+3|Lightning Shift (2/day)

+3|Stance Bonus Feat X 6

+3|Stance X 4

+4|Stance Bonus Feat X 7

+4|Lightning Shift (3/day)

+4|Stance Bonus Feat X 8

+5|Stance X 5

+5|Stance Bonus Feat X 9

+5|Lightning Shift (4/day)

+6|Stance Bonus Feat X 10

+6|Lightning Shift (1/battle)

+6|Stance Bonus Feat X 11[/table]

2007-06-12, 09:50 AM
Seems a bit too half-Tome of Battle to me.

2007-06-12, 12:20 PM
Can we have some examples of a stance feat?

(Unless they were in a book I'm without, if so, could someone explain)

2007-06-12, 02:15 PM
Can we have some examples of a stance feat?

(Unless they were in a book I'm without, if so, could someone explain)

A stance feat can be any feat from the normal old PHB Fighter Bonus Feat list, I.E., any feat (from any sourcebook) that says "A fighter may select [this feat] as one of his fighter bonus feats." One purpose of this project is to make all of the little used martial feats that are already lying around in different books more usable.

Seems a bit too half-Tome of Battle to me.

It does feel a bit like Tome of Battle; my preference has been towards this variant since Yakk first posted it simply because it utilizes all of the feats that already exist instead of inventing a whole new combat system and adding dozens of pages of "melee spells." I'm also partial to it because ToB characters can easily dominate the game at early levels since they're so powerful; the Stance Fighter gains power above-and-beyond the base melee classes a little later, when casters normally start to dominate. Still, Tome of Battle's system works extremely well; this could perhaps be the poor man's Tome of Battle.

Thanks for the replies!

2007-06-12, 03:15 PM
It's not quite ToB. The only thing that links it is the word "stance".

It's just a bumch of variably selected feats for the purpose of improved flexibility, without too much addition of power.

Now: If I have improved tougness as one of my bonus feats, I get the extra HP, and then I remove it, does it change as temp HP, or as CON mod.

2007-06-12, 03:21 PM
This is actually fairly similar to my Daoist presitge class (see spoiler in Sig), would be fascinating to see the two of them in unison.

I like the idea of making feats more flexible, makes it more enjoyable for the player.

2007-06-12, 03:41 PM
If I have improved tougness as one of my bonus feats, I get the extra HP, and then I remove it, does it change as temp HP, or as CON mod.

I'm afraid I don't have access to the exact wording for Improved Toughness right now (I is poor :smallfrown: ), so I'm not sure. First, are you absolutely certain it is a Fighter Bonus Feat? Toughness, according to the PHB, is not.

2007-06-12, 04:34 PM
Toughness is not a valid Figher Bonus Feat. Figher Bonus Feats, at least the Core ones, are very much "fighting techniques".

This is a much cleaned-up version of the one I wrote -- well done. :)

To give you an idea, let's look at a L 11 stance fighter.

4 stances, each with 6 fighter bonus feats.
Lightning shift 2/day.
4 base feats

Base feats:
Power Attack
Quick Draw
Combat Reflexes
Improved Initiative

Stance 1: Falchon (raw damage)
Improved Critical
Weapon Focus (Falchon)
Weapon Spec (Falchon)
Gr. Weapon Focus (Falcon)
Leap Attack
(each +1 to hit is worth +3 damage with Leap Attack. Note non-core can make this build much better.)

Stance 2: Bow (ranged damage)
Point Blank Shot
Far Shot
Rapid Shot
Weapon Focus (longbow)
Weapon Specialization (longbow)
(I'd aim for Gr. Focus/Spec next -- Manyshot with hails of arrows is effective.)

Stance 3: Unarmed (so you can get armed again)
Combat Expertise
Improved Disarm
Improved Unarmed Strike
Improved Grapple
(At L 12, stunning fist might be good, or Imp. Trip)

Stance 4: Chain (anti-humanoid) -- branched off of #3
Combat Expertise
Exotic Weapon (Chain)
Spring Attack
(at L 12, get Imp. Trip for some serious AOE anti-humanoid power.)

(The first three, italic, feat are the ones copied from #3).


One could build a two-weapon stance, a sword+board stance, etc etc -- the key here is that one is encouraged to both specialize and generalize.

The only non-core feat above is "Leap Attack".

2007-06-12, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the example there, Yakk, and for the original draft :smallsmile: . With the draft I have posted right now, shouldn't the above Fighter have only 3 stances?

2007-06-12, 04:44 PM
Wow. This is awesome. I think this is the fighter I will be using from now on in my campaigns.

2007-06-12, 05:11 PM
Oops -- make him L 11. ;)

2007-06-12, 05:25 PM
Bleach, what was with my spelling :(.

Special: A fighter may select Improved Toughness as one of his fighter bonus feats

Yep. It is.

2007-06-12, 07:19 PM
Bleach, what was with my spelling :(.

Yep. It is.

If you switched from a stance in which you have Improved Toughness into one in which you don't, the feat would probably have to work as hit points gained from an improved Constitution. The feat would be too gimicky if it gave true temporary hit points. I'd say the authors made a mistake in making Improved Toughness a fighter bonus feat; Toughness is not one for a reason. But, there you go.

2007-06-13, 02:41 PM
The goal of this is to use as much pre-existing content, and make a more interesting Fighter class.

Instead of being a one-trick pony, this Fighter is a 2 to 5 trick pony. :) It doesn't bring them up to caster-level power -- but it does give a reason to keep taking Fighter levels (you gain more flexibility).

I agree that Imp. Toughness is a problem: it doesn't fit the theme of PHB Fighter Bonus Feats. Note that Toughness is not a Fighter bonus feat. I'd by default ban it -- but if I left it in, just treat it as con-based HP that goes away when you lose it.

The split between Core and Stance feats does a few things: first, it encourages you to pick your Core feats in a way that supports multiple Stances. Second, it makes the 11 feat depth of a Stance not nearly as redundant: your core feats might be inapplicable to some builds.

It does make "off-normal" feat choices more viable: you can afford to have a Stance that is special purpose, like "grappling casters to take them out of the fight", or "mounted combat", without making your character weak.

At the same time, your character can be described on a character sheet: most "flex feat" classes go too far, and allow the class to take any feat, or ones from large lists, which leads to multiple rulebook disorder problems. :)

2008-01-05, 08:31 AM
This is beautiful. I may actually PLAY a fighter at some point now.

2008-01-10, 03:47 PM
Thanks. :)

You can also try this class where you start with 2 stances right from L 1.