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    Default [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    The fighter is one of the two weak core classes that really needs a boost; having already done a fix for the monk, now comes the fighter's turn.

    First, a few words on what this is meant to do:
    It is not meant to allow fighters to beat wizards. It'll help them somewhat, but fighters will remain the weakest class against wizards.
    It is not meant to allow fighters to use nonstandard rules the way wizards do; unless he goes the combat maneuver route, a fighter's options boil down to "hit it with a weapon" (or two weapons), "shoot it with a weapon", "throw a weapon at it", and "distract it while my allies take it out."
    It is not even meant to make fighters a mechanically interesting class; while there are definitely interesting options for fighters with the appropriate feats (combat maneuvers, feint, etc), the bulk of making a class interesting should IMO arise from the players, not the mechanics.
    What this is meant to do is make fighters extremely effective in physical combat (usually melee combat, but the ranged path is definitely an option as well, as is the combat maneuver path, as is the defensive path.)

    The boost comes in three parts. First, fighters' whole thing is feats, so we'll want to give them some new feats, particularly for the higher levels (some will be fighter-only, some won't, but only a fighter will have the feats to get more than a few.)

    The second part is a change to the Sunder rules, to allow it to be used without doing too much damage to your future loot.

    The third part is the addition of new class features for fighters at levels 16, 18, and 20, replacing the bonus fighter feats.

    New feats:
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    Improved Mounted Archery
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    Prerequisites: Ride 10 ranks, Improved Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, base attack bonus +14.
    Benefit: There is no penalty for using a ranged weapon while mounted.
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Mounted Archery as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Improved Mounted Combat:
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    Prerequisites: Ride 10 ranks, Mounted Combat, base attack bonus +7.
    Benefit: You may make 1 ride check per round for every 5 ranks in ride to negate hits on your mount with the Mounted Combat feat, but each check takes -5 more penalty than the preceding one. You may still only make one check per attack.
    Normal: You may only use the Mounted Combat feat once per round.
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Mounted Combat as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Improved Rapid Shot:
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    Prerequisites: Dex 15, Rapid Shot, base attack bonus +11.
    Benefit: When you use the Rapid Shot feat, you get a second additional attack at a -10 penalty (in addition to the normal penalty for using Rapid Shot.)
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Rapid Shot as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Improved Whirlwind Attack:
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    Prerequisites: Dex 13, Int 13, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack, base attack bonus +14.
    Benefit: When you make a whirlwind attack, you may make one additional attack against each opponent, at a -10 penalty.
    Special: A fighter may select Improved Whirlwind Attack as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Keen Hearing:
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    Prerequisites: Blind-Fight, Listen 3 ranks
    Benefit: If you beat the Listen check to detect a creature by 10 or more, you pinpoint its location. If you beat the check by 20 or more, you know its exact location, and any attack action taken in reaction to the sound ignores all concealment.


    Keen Sight:
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    Prerequisites: Blind-Fight, Spot 3 ranks
    Benefit: You get a +15 bonus to spot the location of invisible creatures.
    Furthermore, if the creature has no cover or concealment other than invisibility and displacement, it gains only concealment (20% miss chance), rather than total concealment (50% miss chance) from such effects.
    In addition, you can make a DC 5 spot check to distinguish which of a group of Mirror Images is real; if the Images have cover or concealment, the DC increases by the caster's Hide modifier (if it is positive.)
    Special: A fighter may select Keen Sight as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Superior Armor Proficiency:
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    Prerequisites: Endurance, Armor Proficiency (Medium), Base Attack Bonus +16.
    Benefit: You may move at full speed in any armor you are proficient in. If you are proficient in heavy armor, you may treat it as medium armor whenever such is more advantageous to you (including being able to run at 4 times your normal speed, or 5 times your normal speed with the Run feat).
    Normal: Medium and heavy armor decreases your speed, unless you are a dwarf.
    Special: A fighter may select Superior Armor Proficiency as one of his fighter bonus feats.


    Weapon Expertise:
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    Prerequisites: Weapon focus with a weapon of the selected category, fighter level 4th.
    Benefit: Choose a category of weapon: Melee, projectile, or thrown. You gain +1 to all attacks with weapons of that category. This stacks with bonuses from all other feats.
    Special: A fighter may select Weapon Expertise as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    This feat may be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack; each time, it applies to a different category.


    Weapon Superiority:
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    Prerequisites: Weapon expertise with selected category, fighter level 8th.
    Benefit: Choose a category of weapon: Melee, projectile, or thrown. You gain +2 to all damage rolls with weapons of that category. This stacks with bonuses from all other feats.
    Special: A fighter may select Weapon Superiority as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    This feat may be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack; each time, it applies to a different category.


    Greater Weapon Expertise:
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    Prerequisites: Weapon Superiority with selected category, fighter level 12th.
    Benefit: Choose a category of weapon: Melee, projectile, or thrown. You gain +1 to all attacks with weapons of that category. This stacks with bonuses from all other feats, including Weapon Expertise.
    Special: A fighter may select Greater Weapon Expertise as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    This feat may be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack; each time, it applies to a different category.


    Greater Weapon Superiority:
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    Prerequisites: Greater weapon expertise with selected category, fighter level 15th.
    Benefit: Choose a category of weapon: Melee, projectile, or thrown. You gain +2 to all damage rolls with weapons of that category. This stacks with bonuses from all other feats, including Weapon Superiority.
    Special: A fighter may select Greater Weapon Superiority as one of his fighter bonus feats.
    This feat may be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack; each time, it applies to a different category.




    Sunder fix:
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    It is possible to damage an item enough to affect its use without destroying it. If a masterwork item takes damage equal to its bonus hit points from enchantments (if any) plus half its normal hit points, it loses the masterwork quality (and with it any enchantments that require the masterwork quality) until repaired. A character with Improved Sunder can choose to only do this much damage to the item.


    New fighter features: Combat Mastery
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    At levels 16 and 18, the bonus fighter feat may be instead replaced with a Combat Mastery ability. (If the fighter wants, he may still take a feat instead.) These abilities have numerous prerequisites (mostly feats), and represent a particular focus for this particular fighter.
    At level 20, the bonus fighter feat may be replaced by a Combat Mastery ability, or by upgrading an existing Combat Mastery to the corresponding Combat Grandmastery ability. (The effects listed for the Grandmastery ability are in addition to those from the Combat Mastery ability.) (Some Combat Grandmastery abilities have prerequisites beyond the corresponding Combat Mastery ability and its prerequisites.) This is essentially the capstone ability for the fighter, and the culmination of his pre-epic capabilities.

    The Combat Mastery and Grandmastery abilities are:

    Defensive Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: Dex 13, Int 13, Combat Expertise, Dodge.
    Benefit: As a full-round action, you may create a defensive shield with one or more manufactured melee weapons you wield until the beginning of your next turn. In addition to the benefits of the Total Defense action, you gain a shield bonus to AC against melee attacks equal to the attack bonus with whichever one of the weapons has the lowest bonus, plus 5 for each weapon used after the first. You may treat a shield as a weapon for this purpose, but if so you lose the normal AC bonus from it, even against ranged attacks. Light weapons, with the exception of shields and a monk’s unarmed strike, cannot be used to create a defensive shield.
    You may make Attacks of Opportunity while creating a defensive shield, but only with the weapons being used to create the shield.
    If you have deflect arrows, the bonus applies against ranged attacks as well
    If you have Combat Reflexes, whenever anyone attacks you in melee while you are creating a defensive shield, you may spend an Attack of Opportunity to sunder or disarm the attacking weapon with a +2 bonus (even if the enemy is not in your threatened area). If the attack is made with a natural weapon, you may make a special attack of opportunity against the enemy (even if they are not in your threatened area). Damage from this attack cannot exceed 5 damage, but if you do even 1 point of damage with it the provoking attack is negated. In either case, the attack of opportunity must be made with a weapon being used to create the defensive shield.


    Defensive Grandmastery:
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    Benefit: When you create a defensive shield, all allies whose space you threaten (with all weapons used to create the defensive shield) gain half the shield bonus you do. Furthermore, if you have the Combat Reflexes feat anyone attacking such allies in melee provokes an Attack of Opportunity as if they had attacked you, but with a -4 penalty on the Attack of Opportunity.


    Maneuver Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: At least 3 combat maneuver feats (the combat maneuver feats are Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Improved Grapple, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, and Improved Bull Rush)
    Benefit: When making an opposed roll to disarm, trip, grapple, overrun, sunder, or bull rush an opponent, you gain a +4 bonus.


    Maneuver Grandmastery:
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    Benefit: When making an opposed roll to disarm, trip, grapple, overrun, sunder, or bull rush an opponent, halve all bonuses and penalties from size and strength or ability scores, as well as from BAB derived from racial Hit Dice (but not from BAB due to classes or from feats) for both yourself and your opponent if such is advantageous for you.


    Archery Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: Dex 19, Point-Blank Shot, Far Shot, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Precise Shot, Improved Precise Shot
    Benefit: Halve all penalties to attack rolls that apply specifically to ranged attacks (including penalties due to feat use and distance), as well as all miss chances that apply specifically to ranged attacks.


    Archery Grandmastery:
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    Additional Prerequisite: Dex 21
    Benefit: Negate all distance penalties for your attacks, as well as the penalty for using rapid shot. You are still limited to 10 ranged increments with a projectile weapon, or 5 with a thrown weapon. Also, negate all miss chances that apply specifically to ranged attacks. Furthermore, you may add half your Dexterity bonus to your ranged attacks; this replaces any Strength bonus to damage (if the Strength bonus is greater, it is applied instead). Finally, Deflect Arrows and similar abilities no longer allow the user to simply deflect your attacks. Instead, they must make an opposed attack roll at a +10 bonus in order to deflect your attack.


    Power Attack Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: 19 Str, Power Attack
    Benefit: When using Power Attack, you may apply penalties and bonuses for each attack individually.
    Normal: The bonuses and penalties from Power Attack apply to all attacks in a round.


    Power Attack Grandmastery:
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    Additional Prerequisite: Str 21
    Benefit: When using Power Attack, add twice as much to your damage roll as is subtracted from the attack roll, or four times as much if wielding a weapon in two hands. The total bonus to damage still cannot exceed your base attack bonus, or twice your base attack bonus if wielding a weapon in two hands. This still does not allow you to use Power Attack with a weapon that would normally be ineligible.
    Normal: The number added to the damage roll is equal to the number subtracted from the attack roll, or twice as much if wielding a weapon in two hands.


    Two-Weapon Fighting Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: 19 Dex, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
    Benefit: When fighting with two weapons, you take no penalty on attack rolls, and may add your full strength bonus to damage for both attacks. Furthermore, you may make as many attacks with your off-hand weapon as with your main weapon. Finally, if you hit an opponent with a weapon in each hand in the same round, you may automatically rend the opponent. This deals additional damage equal to the base damage of the less powerful (lower base damage) weapon plus 1 ½ times your Strength modifier. Base weapon damage includes an enhancement bonus on damage, if any. You can only rend once per round, regardless of how many successful attacks you make.
    Normal: There is a penalty on attack rolls when fighting with two weapons, and the off-hand weapon gains only half your strength bonus as a bonus to attacks.

    (OOC note: This is a combination of an ettin's Superior 2WF ability, and the SRD epic feats Perfect 2WF and Two-Weapon Rend.)


    Two-Weapon Fighting Grandmastery:
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    Benefit: When attacking a single opponent with two weapons, the opponent may only apply its dexterity bonus to AC against one of the weapons, unless its BAB is higher than yours by at least 4. You may roll one attack with each weapon before resolving either; if either attack rolls high enough to hit, the other attack gets a +2 bonus and the target cannot apply its Dexterity bonus to AC against that attack. You may do this as many times per round as you have attacks with each weapon.


    Weapon Mastery:
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    Prerequisites: Greater Weapon Superiority or Greater Weapon Specialization
    Benefit: The Weapon Superiority, Greater Weapon Superiority, Weapon Specialization, and Greater Weapon Specialization feats each give +10% to damage rather than +2 damage whenever such would be more advantageous to you. Any source of damage not multiplied by a critical hit is not increased in this manner, and the bonus is rounded down after the effects of all applicable feats have been calculated and added together.


    Weapon Grandmastery:
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    Benefit: The effects of Greater Weapon Expertise, Greater Weapon Superiority, Greater Weapon Focus, and Greater Weapon Specialization are doubled.


    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2011-08-02 at 07:32 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Your stated goal is to make them extremely effective in physical combat. But that's still a pretty vague goal if you ask me. In your opinion how does the published Fighter class fall short of that goal and what are a few examples of existing published classes or creatures that meet that goal that you are attempting to boost the Fighter's performance to match (or exceed)?

    In my opinion any Fighter Fix™ that attempts to boost their performance so that they are "extremely effective in physical combat" at least needs to improve their fighting ability to the point that they could go toe-to-toe with monsters that are at that same level across all points on the level-to-CR spectrum.

    For example, just using the SRD, at CR 5 we have Dire Lions, or worse, Trolls. At CR 10 we have Fire Giants, or worse, the Bebilith. At CR 15 the concept of a monster that is only "extremely effective in physical combat" kind of goes out the window but we have Half-Dragon Colossal Monstrous Scorpians.

    All of the above creatures are what I would consider to be effective melee combatants, and some I would consider to be extremely effective in physical combat in general. A boosted Fighter of any one given build that can't go toe-to-toe with all of those creatures (at the appropriate levels of course) and kill some of them, weaken some others, and at the very least survive an encounter with the rest simply can't be called "extremely effective in physical combat."
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-07-31 at 02:16 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    The way I see it, there are two problems with the core Fighter as written:

    1) Bonus feats should not be the only class features a class gets. Ever.

    2) This goes double when 95% of the bonus feats available are completely worthless.

    So, to fix the fighter, you need to either come up with ACTUAL CLASS FEATURES instead of just bonus feats, or to create fighter-only feats that are worthwhile to take. This means feats that scale with fighter level progression, or high-level feats that give the fighter the capacity to not suck, or mimic actual class features.

    Sorry if this came off as harsh. >.<

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    So, funny thing about Weapon Expertise and Weapon Superiorty...they already made a feat like that, that's better than the one you created (In that it provides a higher bonus and only consumes one feat slot)

    It's called Melee Weapon Mastery (Type). (Comes in Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing. There are also three Ranged Weapon Mastery feats with the same attributes)

    The requirements are Weapon Focus with a weapon of the chosen type, Weapon Specialization with a weapon of the chosen type, and +8 BAB. The benefits are: +2 bonus on attacks and damage rolls with all weapons of the chosen type, stacks with Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. So it can be taken at the same time you offer Weapon Superiority, but it grants an additional +1 to hit and only consumes one feat slot. (And non-fighters can take it if they have Weapon Specialization, like a favored soul)

    I suppose if a fighter wanted they could take Greater Weapon Expertise to balance it out, so that would be 3 of your homebrew feats to equal to the benefit of a single already existing feat.

    Nothing else to say that byaku rai didn't cover already. Good luck in the editing process though.
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2011-07-31 at 03:32 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Your stated goal is to make them extremely effective in physical combat. But that's still a pretty vague goal if you ask me. In your opinion how does the published Fighter class fall short of that goal and what are a few examples of existing published classes or creatures that meet that goal that you are attempting to boost the Fighter's performance to match (or exceed)?
    Barbarian is a good example of what I'm trying to boost the fighter's performance to exceed.

    In my opinion any Fighter Fix™ that attempts to boost their performance so that they are "extremely effective in physical combat" at least needs to improve their fighting ability to the point that they could go toe-to-toe with monsters that are at that same level across all points on the level-to-CR spectrum.
    Not really. The CR is designed for a party; a single character will of course do somewhat worse than that. That said, it is not at all clear that a fighter can't take those on, assuming of course that he's properly equipped.

    Quote Originally Posted by byaku rai View Post
    1) Bonus feats should not be the only class features a class gets. Ever.
    Why not? So long as there are enough good feats that you can't get them all without bonus feats, bonus feats are worth something substantial.

    So, to fix the fighter, you need to either come up with ACTUAL CLASS FEATURES instead of just bonus feats, or to create fighter-only feats that are worthwhile to take. This means feats that scale with fighter level progression, or high-level feats that give the fighter the capacity to not suck, or mimic actual class features.
    Why isn't the ability to hit reliably and do substantial damage considered worthwhile to take?

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Not really. The CR is designed for a party; a single character will of course do somewhat worse than that. That said, it is not at all clear that a fighter can't take those on, assuming of course that he's properly equipped.
    Except a party of four is expected to take four encounters of their CR per day. That means a fighter should be able to take one encounter of their CR while at full hit points.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Except a party of four is expected to take four encounters of their CR per day. That means a fighter should be able to take one encounter of their CR while at full hit points.
    I'm not quite sure that's how it works...after all each monster is designed to have certain exploitable weaknesses and certain powerful defenses. A balanced party working together should be able to take it out, but I don't think that a level 3 fighter could take down a That Damn Crab, for example. Or a level 10 fighter fighting a rakasha. Or even a level 4 fighter fighting a brown bear. Even when the encounter is simple and played to the fighter's strengths (an opponent who simply attacks, has a high Strength but low AC and no magical attacks) I think the monster would win, as fighters have no class features and the monster simply has higher HD (and therefore, comparable to better BAB)

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Except a party of four is expected to take four encounters of their CR per day. That means a fighter should be able to take one encounter of their CR while at full hit points.
    And honestly a party of four taking on four encounters of their CR is pretty much easy mode. Consider that a party of four level 5 characters is actually an Encounter Level of 9.

    I'm kind of curious to see how you would build a Fighter using all available published material as well as your own suggested fixes (even ongoing as you come up with them) that at 5th level could successfully take on a Troll, then at 10th level take on a Fire Giant, and at 15th level take on a Half-Dragon Monstrous Scorpion. Bonus points if you don't build specifically to defeat Trolls, Fire Giants, and big 'ol Scorpions.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Even when the encounter is simple and played to the fighter's strengths (an opponent who simply attacks, has a high Strength but low AC and no magical attacks) I think the monster would win, as fighters have no class features and the monster simply has higher HD (and therefore, comparable to better BAB)
    And this is exactly my point. If any sort of "boosted Fighter" doesn't have a reasonable chance of victory in an encounter that plays to his supposed strengths of being "extremely effective in physical combat," then that attempt to boost the Fighter has utterly failed.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-07-31 at 03:59 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    I'm not quite sure that's how it works...after all each monster is designed to have certain exploitable weaknesses and certain powerful defenses. A balanced party working together should be able to take it out, but I don't think that a level 3 fighter could take down a That Damn Crab, for example. Or a level 10 fighter fighting a rakasha. Or even a level 4 fighter fighting a brown bear. Even when the encounter is simple and played to the fighter's strengths (an opponent who simply attacks, has a high Strength but low AC and no magical attacks) I think the monster would win, as fighters have no class features and the monster simply has higher HD (and therefore, comparable to better BAB)
    That's my point. A 4th level warblade at full hit points can beat a brown bear. Emerald Razor for better chance of hit or more damage with PA, Mountain Hammer and Claw at the Moon for an extra 7 points of damage on average, Steely Strike for better chance of hit or more damage from PA, etc.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2011-07-31 at 04:06 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Except a party of four is expected to take four encounters of their CR per day. That means a fighter should be able to take one encounter of their CR while at full hit points.
    No, as 4 characters are more than 4 times as powerful as 1 character, especially in a balanced party.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    as fighters have no class features
    Not quite; their feats are their class features, and some of them can be pretty impressive if used intelligently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    And honestly a party of four taking on four encounters of their CR is pretty much easy mode.
    That's what the DMG says; an equal-CR encounter is expected to take 1/5 of their resources, so they have to limit it to 4 to be confident of winning.

    Consider that a party of four level 5 characters is actually an Encounter Level of 9.
    Yes; you need to be level 9 to beat them without using substantially more than 1/5 of your resources.

    And this is exactly my point. If any sort of "boosted Fighter" doesn't have a reasonable chance of victory in an encounter that plays to his supposed strengths of being "extremely effective in physical combat," then that attempt to boost the Fighter has utterly failed.
    An encounter that plays to the fighter's strengths isn't one that's the monster equivalent of a fighter, and especially not one that's the monster equivalent of a fighter with lots of HP (monsters tend to have more HP because they're designed to oppose entire parties.) An encounter that plays to the fighter's strengths would be one that is most effectively fought with physical combat, such as a golem or a roper. Or one that's vulnerable to combat maneuvers (such as humanoids with class levels) or to using things like cleave.

    A single "brute" monster actually isn't what fighters are designed to defeat. At least not alone; keep in mind also that a fighter with caster support should be far more powerful than either fighter or caster alone.

    Also, trolls in particular are a bad example because regeneration is best defeated by focus fire from multiple party members, so they're far more difficult for a single character than their CR would indicate.
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2011-07-31 at 04:50 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    You seem to have missed NeoSeraphi's first post.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    So, funny thing about Weapon Expertise and Weapon Superiorty...they already made a feat like that, that's better than the one you created (In that it provides a higher bonus and only consumes one feat slot)

    It's called Melee Weapon Mastery (Type). (Comes in Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing. There are also three Ranged Weapon Mastery feats with the same attributes)

    The requirements are Weapon Focus with a weapon of the chosen type, Weapon Specialization with a weapon of the chosen type, and +8 BAB. The benefits are: +2 bonus on attacks and damage rolls with all weapons of the chosen type, stacks with Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization. So it can be taken at the same time you offer Weapon Superiority, but it grants an additional +1 to hit and only consumes one feat slot. (And non-fighters can take it if they have Weapon Specialization, like a favored soul)

    I suppose if a fighter wanted they could take Greater Weapon Expertise to balance it out, so that would be 3 of your homebrew feats to equal to the benefit of a single already existing feat.

    Nothing else to say that byaku rai didn't cover already. Good luck in the editing process though.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Yes, I did miss it.

    So maybe I'm missing something...given that a fighter can get a better offense than a barbarian, why is it that fighters are considered so underpowered when barbarians are not?

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Yes, I did miss it.

    So maybe I'm missing something...given that a fighter can get a better offense than a barbarian, why is it that fighters are considered so underpowered when barbarians are not?
    First of all, barbarians are pretty subpar when it comes to things like warblades and crusaders. That said, a fighter's skill from his bonus feats can only take him so far. What really matters is a fighter's equipment. A fighter needs to have the absolute best +5 adamantine sword of flaming destructive awesomeness in order to be able to dish out the damage he's expected to dish out at CR 20.

    Some of his feats to improve damage that scale with level, such as Power Attack, Shock Trooper, and Leap Attack, are not fighter-only feats, so the barbarian can also take them.

    The difference between the fighter's +4 to hit and +6 to damage (Assuming Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, and Melee Weapon Mastery, which is a total of 5 feats) and the barbarian is that bonuses to hit aren't really that necessary for optimized melee. Generally, the full BAB combined with a decent Str score is more than enough to land a blow. And unlike damage, all you have to aim for when you want to hit a creature is their AC. There's very little luck involved, generally, and most of my pure melee builds have been able to hit on rolls of 2 and 3.

    The barbarian, with a +5 weapon, already has a +5 bonus to hit and to damage. That's more than Greater Weapon Focus/MWM and almost as much as Greater Weapon Specialization/MWM. And he hits just fine. That's because Greater Weapon Focus is unnecessary with full BAB and proper equipment and Strength.

    Meanwhile, the barbarian is able to, at will, increase his physical ability scores by as much as 16-18 (Full Frenzied Berserker+Rage+Reckless Rage = +16 Str).

    With that +16 Str comes a +8 bonus to hit which is double the bonus that the fighter receives from MWM and Greater Weapon Focus, as well as an extra attack at his highest attack bonus each round. The bonus to damage is +12, assuming a two-handed weapon.

    Combine this with pounce, the valorous weapon enhancement, and a two-handed weapon, and Power Attack with -20 with your full BAB thanks to Heedless Charge, have absolutely no penalties to hit. And thanks to Supreme Power Attack from Frenzied Berserker, you're adding +80 to your damage rolls, instead of +40.

    So let's count. Say the average barbarian, with correct WBL and optimization, has a base Str of 38 at level 20. (18+4 racial from Orc+5 level+5 inherent+6 Enhancement from a magic item). Now add that +16 Strength. His Strength score is now 54.

    He charges and Power Attacks. (Note that as of Complete Champion, barbarians receive pounce as a class feature. While fighters get Greater Weapon Focus)

    With that 54 Strength, the +2 bonus from charging, and a +5 Valorous Berserker Greataxe, he has a total of +51 to hit. Thanks to Heedless Charge, he drops his AC to 0 instead of taking that penalty to his attack rolls. So he attacks his opponent, with +51/+51/+46/+41/+36. We assume he hits all 5 times.

    His Greataxe deals 2d12+240 damage per hit. Without using the Leap Attack feat.

    That's why fighters aren't as good as barbarians. They have exploitable class features. (Rage, Pounce, Frenzy, and Supreme Power Attack)

    Edit: And before you say "None of that is core", the widespread opinion that the barbarian is better than the fighter is based on all of the options available to both classes in 3.5. Also, Swiftmongoose's points about the barbarian are all valid and core-only.
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2011-07-31 at 05:22 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Yes, I did miss it.

    So maybe I'm missing something...given that a fighter can get a better offense than a barbarian, why is it that fighters are considered so underpowered when barbarians are not?
    Barbarians get rage. The Extra Rage and Extended Rage feats basically allow them to rage the entire combat, every combat, giving them +2 to attack and damage, +2 to fortitude and will saves, for -2 AC. At 11th level, the bonuses become +3, at 20th level, they become +4. Starting at 14th level, they also gain +4 on saves against spells like Dominate Person and Hold Monster.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2011-07-31 at 05:12 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Barbarians get rage. The Extra Rage and Extended Rage feats basically allow them to rage the entire combat, every combat, giving them +2 to attack and damage, +2 to fortitude and will saves, for -2 AC. At 11th level, the bonuses become +3, at 20th level, they become +4. Starting at 14th level, they also gain +4 on saves against spells like Dominate Person and Hold Monster.
    You also forgot that delicious +80 HP at 20th level. Extra hit points, as well as the highest hit dice in the game and a terrible but still better than nothing DR 5/- make the barbarian a much better damage soaker than a fighter.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    First of all, barbarians are pretty subpar when it comes to things like warblades and crusaders. That said, a fighter's skill from his bonus feats can only take him so far. What really matters is a fighter's equipment. A fighter needs to have the absolute best +5 adamantine sword of flaming destructive awesomeness in order to be able to dish out the damage he's expected to dish out at CR 20.
    So? At level 20, that equipment is quite within his means.

    Some of his feats to improve damage that scale with level, such as Power Attack, Shock Trooper, and Leap Attack, are not fighter-only feats, so the barbarian can also take them.
    Yes, but none of the barbarian's abilities scale with level that way; the barbarian's improving rage can be matched by the fighter taking more constant-bonus feats.

    The difference between the fighter's +4 to hit and +6 to damage (Assuming Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Specialization, and Melee Weapon Mastery, which is a total of 5 feats) and the barbarian is that bonuses to hit aren't really that necessary for optimized melee. Generally, the full BAB combined with a decent Str score is more than enough to land a blow. And unlike damage, all you have to aim for when you want to hit a creature is their AC. There's very little luck involved, generally, and most of my pure melee builds have been able to hit on rolls of 2 and 3.
    With Core-only that shouldn't happen so much.

    Meanwhile, the barbarian is able to, at will, increase his physical ability scores by as much as 16-18 (Full Frenzied Berserker+Rage+Reckless Rage = +16 Str).
    Ah, so it's because of non-core barbarian capabilities.
    I'm only trying to balance within core.

    And within core, an equal-CR monster will be more than a single character of that level can handle without extremely heavy expenditure. Which is how it should be; after all, we want it still to be somewhat of a challenge for a 4-character party that supports each other properly.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post

    Ah, so it's because of non-core barbarian capabilities.
    I'm only trying to balance within core.
    See the edit above.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Yes, at higher levels barbarians are quite defensively powerful.

    Of course, my fix (with the combat mastery abilities) means that at higher levels fighters are also quite offensively powerful (or defensively if they decided to focus on defense.)

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Now, about your "Core Only Melee Needs Bonuses to Hit" thing.

    I went to the SRD and chose a CR 20 monster. I focused on both classical approaches and specialized AC, and I picked a wyrm- age category Black Dragon. Its AC is 39.

    At level 20, a barbarian or a ranger's BAB is +20. We'll go with a melee focused barbarian, since that was the original argument. So I have a level 20 barbarian. He's a Half-Orc who has focused on Strength, as core-only barbarians tend to do. His Strength score is 36. (18 starting, +2 racial, +5 level, +6 Belt of Giant Strength, +5 inherent because wish is a core spell)

    He has a +5 greataxe with no ability enhancements, again, typical and even subpar for melee at level 20.

    His total to-hit bonus without raging is +38. On a natural 2, he will hit that CR 20 black dragon.

    Edit: And with raging, his to-hit is +42. So he auto-succeeds on his first attack roll, needs a natural 2 on his second attack roll, needs a natural 7 on his third attack roll, and a natural 12 on his fourth. So a core-only barbarian without your fix that has been properly equipped has a very good chance of hitting a black dragon even with his +5 iterative attack. Without Weapon Focus.
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2011-07-31 at 05:48 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    I strongly disagree with the notion that feats can never be considered class features. If the feat has a prerequisite of a particular class, and the class in question gives bonus feats, then that feat can essentially be a class feature. In fact, the fighter really gets to customize their class features when they pick feats.

    The main argument against feats replacing class features is "feats aren't as good as class features." Using just published material, this is true. Weapon Specialization may be a fighter class feature, but it's an awfully bad one. But if we are homebrewing, the solution is simply to make better feats. These fighter-only feats would have to be substantially more powerful than almost all WotC feats. Basically, that good idea you have for a 12th level class feature could instead be a feat, with "12th level fighter" as a prerequisite.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    I strongly disagree with the notion that feats can never be considered class features. If the feat has a prerequisite of a particular class, and the class in question gives bonus feats, then that feat can essentially be a class feature. In fact, the fighter really gets to customize their class features when they pick feats.

    The main argument against feats replacing class features is "feats aren't as good as class features." Using just published material, this is true. Weapon Specialization may be a fighter class feature, but it's an awfully bad one. But if we are homebrewing, the solution is simply to make better feats. These fighter-only feats would have to be substantially more powerful than almost all WotC feats. Basically, that good idea you have for a 12th level class feature could instead be a feat, with "12th level fighter" as a prerequisite.
    If they're fighter only, why are they feats? Why not call them Arts of War or Battle Arts?

    Edit: oh yeah, because warblade can get them.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2011-07-31 at 05:59 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    If they're fighter only, why are they feats? Why not call them Arts of War or Battle Arts?
    I suppose for the same reason you still call any other class-specific feat a feat

    Or that you call a metamagic feat a feat, instead of a Casting Style.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    While I wait for Yitzi to reply, I'll go ahead and point out that even if you balance a fighter, without fixing all the dead levels, he's still going to be no fun to play, especially if it's in Core-only when there aren't that many prestige classes.

    Also you made a mistake with some of your coding in the OP, missed a few / before spoiler and stuff.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    I'm having a really difficult time understanding what it is you're trying to accomplish here.

    Your main points appear to be as follows:

    1) A Fighter should be able to hit stuff and deal damage.

    2) Melee Monsters of CR equal to a Fighter level should always be strictly better at physical combat than said Fighter.

    3) A Fighter should (only?) excel in encounters where he gets to mop up lots of worthless mooks (cleaving), bull rush or trip fools (humanoid opponents), and/or attack creatures that no one else can effectively attack.

    • Now, point 1 is already taken care of, as has been extensively pointed out to you already.


    • Point 2 is simply dooming any effort to boost the Fighter to failure. You see, a Fighter 5 is, as per the rubric given us by the game designers, a CR 5 challenge. So any Fighter 5 should be, according to the game designers, an equal challenge as any Dire Lion or Troll. If part of your accepted design philosophy is that a Fighter 5 shouldn't be equivalent in combat to either of those monsters, then you are accepting that by your standards you aim to actively make the Fighter even weaker than the game's designers expected him to be.

      Mind, you could certainly still improve the published Fighter and it would still not be equal to a Troll or even a Dire Lion, but if you choose not to even attempt making a CR 5 melee Fighter character roughly equivalent to any given CR 5 melee monster, if you choose to willfully make said CR 5 melee Fighter strictly weaker than any given CR 5 melee monster, then you may as well throw the CR system completely out the window and start all discussion of game balance from scratch.


    • As far as point 3 is concerned, worthless mooks and humanoid opponents are pretty silly to be balancing anything against anyway and it implies that you do accept that an encounter against a CR 5 melee humanoid is supposed to be as challenging as an encounter against a CR 5 melee monster.

      That last bit about attacking creatures that no one else can effectively attack is the most interesting bit, and may be something to work with in attempting to boost a Fighter. Of course that angle seems to imply that the Fighter should always be worse at everything than literally everyone else, but also that he is the one class that is basically impossible to stop from doing his thing. Shrug.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-07-31 at 06:35 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    That last bit about attacking creatures that no one else can effectively attack is the most interesting bit, and may be something to work with in attempting to boost a Fighter. Of course that angle seems to imply that the Fighter should always be worse at everything than literally everyone else, but also that he is the one class that is basically impossible to stop from doing his thing. Shrug.[/LIST]
    Which lead us straight back to the one-trick pony. You (the OP) almost seem to be assuming that the fighter is tier 6, but should be boosted to tier 5. But the fighter is ALREADY tier 5 (and not all that bad for its tier).

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Now, about your "Core Only Melee Needs Bonuses to Hit" thing.

    I went to the SRD and chose a CR 20 monster. I focused on both classical approaches and specialized AC, and I picked a wyrm- age category Black Dragon. Its AC is 39.

    At level 20, a barbarian or a ranger's BAB is +20. We'll go with a melee focused barbarian, since that was the original argument. So I have a level 20 barbarian. He's a Half-Orc who has focused on Strength, as core-only barbarians tend to do. His Strength score is 36. (18 starting, +2 racial, +5 level, +6 Belt of Giant Strength, +5 inherent because wish is a core spell)

    He has a +5 greataxe with no ability enhancements, again, typical and even subpar for melee at level 20.

    His total to-hit bonus without raging is +38. On a natural 2, he will hit that CR 20 black dragon.

    Edit: And with raging, his to-hit is +42. So he auto-succeeds on his first attack roll, needs a natural 2 on his second attack roll, needs a natural 7 on his third attack roll, and a natural 12 on his fourth. So a core-only barbarian without your fix that has been properly equipped has a very good chance of hitting a black dragon even with his +5 iterative attack. Without Weapon Focus.
    Point. Although I'm thinking about reworking inherent bonuses so that he can't get that, but yes full-BAB classes can hit pretty well as it is. (They can then use the extra for the iterative attacks or stuff like Power Attack and Weapon Expertise.)
    Of course, barbarians are a bad example of "without my fix", as this is primarily a fighter fix; barbarians already have what it's trying to give fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    The main argument against feats replacing class features is "feats aren't as good as class features." Using just published material, this is true. Weapon Specialization may be a fighter class feature, but it's an awfully bad one. But if we are homebrewing, the solution is simply to make better feats.
    That's essentially what I tried to do here with the Combat Mastery abilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    If they're fighter only, why are they feats? Why not call them Arts of War or Battle Arts?
    Because they work a lot like feats, and are conceptually the same as feats.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    While I wait for Yitzi to reply, I'll go ahead and point out that even if you balance a fighter, without fixing all the dead levels, he's still going to be no fun to play
    That really depends on the player. In my own opinion, any class is no fun to play if the mechanics are all that you're using to make them fun. D&D is a roleplaying game.

    Also you made a mistake with some of your coding in the OP, missed a few / before spoiler and stuff.
    Whoops. Fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    I'm having a really difficult time understanding what it is you're trying to accomplish here.

    Your main points appear to be as follows:

    1) A Fighter should be able to hit stuff and deal damage.
    No, a fighter should be able to do whatever it is that his feat selection is customized to. That could be combat maneuvers, it could be hitting stuff and dealing damage, it could be being hard to kill.

    2) Melee Monsters of CR equal to a Fighter level should always be strictly better at physical combat than said Fighter.
    Not true. They should be able to beat said fighter one-on-one, since they tend to be effectively optimized against single opponents (or maybe it's that parties are optimized against them, and the CR represents that.)

    3) A Fighter should (only?) excel in encounters where he gets to mop up lots of worthless mooks (cleaving), bull rush or trip fools (humanoid opponents), and/or attack creatures that no one else can effectively attack.
    Not only, but those are some examples of the encounters where he's particularly impressive. Just like a wizard is particularly impressive against brute monsters.

    [LIST]Point 2 is simply dooming any effort to boost the Fighter to failure. You see, a Fighter 5 is, as per the rubric given us by the game designers, a CR 5 challenge. So any Fighter 5 should be, according to the game designers, an equal challenge as any Dire Lion or Troll.
    Oh, he's quite as much a challenge. He's got lower hit points, but is often smarter, will tend to have better AC and attack, and can have a whole slew of nasty tricks.

    But just because two encounters are equally a challenge against a party doesn't mean they're evenly matched against each other.

    [LIST]As far as point 3 is concerned, worthless mooks and humanoid opponents are pretty silly to be balancing anything against anyway[/quote]

    Not necessarily; especially at high levels, humanoid (or similar, like templated undead) opponents are some of the nastiest foes a party can face.

    Of course that angle seems to imply that the Fighter should always be worse at everything than literally everyone else, but also that he is the one class that is basically impossible to stop from doing his thing.
    While I wouldn't go to that extreme, that's certainly a way to go (although the barbarian should be even more so.) Magic, trickery...all these things are powerful, but ephemeral and therefore easily diverted by those who no how. A sword in the gut...now that's solid.

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    You (the OP) almost seem to be assuming that the fighter is tier 6, but should be boosted to tier 5. But the fighter is ALREADY tier 5 (and not all that bad for its tier).
    Not really; I'm assuming it's tier 5 (one-trick pony who's not so great at his trick) and trying to boost it to a very strong tier 4 (one-trick or a-few-tricks, and very very good at his chosen tricks.)

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Not true. They should be able to beat said fighter one-on-one, since they tend to be effectively optimized against single opponents (or maybe it's that parties are optimized against them, and the CR represents that.)
    I need help remembering why I'm not just playing an awakened animal instead of a fighter.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    I really don't want to get into this, especially because I disagree with your philosophical approach to fixing 3.5 in general, but I can't let this go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    That really depends on the player. In my own opinion, any class is no fun to play if the mechanics are all that you're using to make them fun. D&D is a roleplaying game.
    Good mechanics can contribute to fun, if designed to do so. Bad mechanics, however, will always detract from fun, because mechanics are the functional means by which conflict is resolved — and conflict is fun.
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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    I need help remembering why I'm not just playing an awakened animal instead of a fighter.
    Because awakened animals don't have an LA, and if they did it would be at least 0 (and a fighter is a far superior combatant to an awakened animal of his HD.)

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    I really don't want to get into this, especially because I disagree with your philosophical approach to fixing 3.5 in general
    In what way?

    Good mechanics can contribute to fun, if designed to do so. Bad mechanics, however, will always detract from fun, because mechanics are the functional means by which conflict is resolved — and conflict is fun.
    Yes. But that is true of bad mechanics, but not of boring mechanics. If the fighter's mechanics are bad, that's a problem. If they're just boring, though, that's no issue, as there are other ways to make conflict resolution interesting.

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    Default Re: [3.5 Core] Boosting the fighter (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    In what way?
    I don't like the idea that the game should have some kind of rock-paper-scissors dynamic going on, and through most of your threads you've made quite clear that you think this is a good approach.

    I don't think you're a bad homebrewer, btw — you've obviously got a vision of what you want to do and you're working towards it with aplomb. I just personally don't like your approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Yes. But that is true of bad mechanics, but not of boring mechanics. If the fighter's mechanics are bad, that's a problem. If they're just boring, though, that's no issue, as there are other ways to make conflict resolution interesting.
    Conflict = Fun. Therefore, boring conflict resolution mechanics are boring fun. Boring fun is not a thing. Therefore, boring conflict resolution mechanics are not fun to use. If a game mechanic prevents you from having fun while playing said game, it's a bad mechanic.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2011-07-31 at 09:44 PM.
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