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    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    For as long as Iíve played D&D, mundane combat has always seemed ridiculously shallow. After youíve chosen what you want to fight with and your general style of fighting, everything seems to quickly fall into a highly predictable pattern. Rogues TWF everything that moves, Fighters ubercharge/tripper-lock, Samurai work an obscure infinite intimidate lock, and members of every ďmundaneĒ base class are forced to abandon their class like the sinking ships that they are. No variety. No real depth beyond your equipment. Just an option (or two, if youíre lucky) that happens to really work on a good day. While all of this this may be a bit of an exaggeration (Iíve known folks to go from fighter 1 to 20 without complaints), the lack of depth that I observe kind of disappoints me. To help remedy this lack of depth, I present you with.

    Combat Techniques:

    What are Combat Techniques?
    In some senses, Combat Techniques were invented to serve as a realistic middle ground between Tome of Battle maneuvers and normal combat maneuvers that anyone can perform like Withdraw, Overrun, and Total Defense.

    Like maneuvers from ToB, not just anyone can use every combat technique. You gain access to them and gain more use out of them as you level up. Compared with ToB, however, everything here is simplified. There arenít any ďdisciplinesĒ to deal with, there are only 20 abilities in total and there only four levels of power rather than a full nine. The abilities are named descriptively rather than decoratively, donít require you to recharge, and are pretty much usable at will like normal combat options.

    Also, there is one more very important difference between Combat Techniques and ToB maneuvers, a difference also present between it and many attempts to fix mundane combat(ants). Namely, combat techniques are intended as a core mechanic of gameplay, rather than the class feature of yet another fighter fix. Everyone from Ogres to Commoners to Samurai to Fighters to Wizards can and likely will take advantage of Combat Techniques, though front-line combatants get the most use out of it.

    How Does One Gain Combat Techniques?
    Implementing Combat Techniques as a core mechanic, I tied it into another core mechanic that most front-line combatants have in abundance: Base Attack Bonus. As the Base Attack Bonus of a creature or character increases, they gain more combat techniques and those they have are empowered as displayed on the table below:

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    {table=head]Base Attack Bonus | Benefits

    +1 | Combat Technique

    +2 |

    +3 | Combat Technique

    +4 |

    +5 | Advancement, Combat Technique

    +6 |

    +7 | Combat Technique

    +8 |

    +9| Advancement, Combat Technique

    +10 |

    +11 | Combat Technique

    +12 |

    +13 | Advancement, Combat Technique

    +14 |

    +15 | Combat Technique

    +16 |

    +17 | Advancement, Combat Technique

    +18 |

    +19 | Master of Combat

    +20 | [/table]

    Combat Technique (Ex): You may select one Combat Technique and gain access to it at least mastery.

    Advancement (Ex): Whenever you gain this benefit, all Combat Techniques you possess (including the one gained at the same level) increase to the next degree of mastery. In order for a Combat Technique to reach its next degree of mastery, at least half of your HD (including both racial HD and class HD), must meet certain prerequisites depending on the degree to be attained. If this is not the case when this ability is gained, that opportunity is forever lost.

    {table=head]To ReachÖ | Prerequisites

    Least Mastery | --

    Lesser Mastery | at least 3/4 Base Attack Bonus progression

    Greater Mastery | full Base Attack Bonus or HD gained through levels in associated classes.

    True Mastery | HD gained through fighter levels or through levels in associated classes[/table]

    If you should later gain additional HD such that you know longer meet these prerequisites, you do not lose access to your techniques and their degree is not lowered.

    Master of Combat (Ex): When your Base Attack Bonus reaches +19, you gain a choice between two options. You can either gain access to all remaining combat techniques at least mastery or you could increase the degree of your combat techniques again as though through Advancement (above).


    The Other Big Change: Attacks of Opportunity:
    Using Combat Techniques, one other change of note must be made to the core rules, involving attacks of opportunity. Each creature and character gain a number of attacks of opportunity each round equal to half of its Base Attack Bonus (minimum 1). Combat Reflexes adds more to this number as normal. Quite a few combat techniques that Iíve made use attacks of opportunity as a form of round-by-round currency to spend on abilities.

    NOTE: COMBAT TECHNIQUES AND MAGIC:
    If a spell, ability, or magic item temporarily or permanently increases your base attack bonus, you do not advance beyond your actual base attack bonus on the table above. If your base attack bonus is permanently reduced, however (such as through negative levels or revival resulting in level loss), you go back down the chart as normal.

    THE COMBAT TECHNIQUES:
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    Adapt:
    When you take a few moments to ready yourself, you can prepare for almost any battle
    Associated Classes: None
    Least Mastery: At the start of each encounter, you may choose not to act in the first round of combat, instead seeing what happens and adapting to the situation. For 5 rounds, you lose the benefit of any feat you possess that is not acting as a prerequisite for a prestige class or another feat you possess. In its place, you gain the benefits of a bonus fighter feat of your choice, so long as you meet its prerequisites.

    Lesser Mastery: When you Adapt yourself to a battle, you may switch a second feat. One temporary feat may be used as a prerequisite for another. Furthermore, you need not immediately swap feats after skipping the first round of combat. Instead, you may choose to swap the feats at any time during the encounter as a swift action.

    Greater Mastery: When you Adapt yourself to a battle, you may switch a third feat. Furthermore, you may choose at the start of any round to skip your action, reverting back to your normal feat selection but allowing you to swap out feats once more in the future. This can be done even if you did not skip the first round of combat.

    True Mastery: Instead of swapping out feats, you instead simply gain an equal number of temporary bonus feats. In addition, you gain a fourth such bonus feat.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    Getting down to business, let's rip the metaphorical bandage off and start with what is likely the most powerful/versatile technique here. If this looks too overpowered, the rest of them aren't this bad and feel free to suggest a fix. If it got your hopes up that everything would be this powerful, sorry to disappoint you.


    Assess the Battlefield:
    Looking out over the battlefield, you can see everything as it occurs and judge how best to proceed.
    Associated Classes: Bard, Marshall, Paladin, Scout
    Least Mastery: As a Full-Round action, you can mentally step back and observe the course of a battle, allowing you to see the big picture. For the next three rounds after you use this ability, you gain a +1 Insight bonus to your AC, Attack Rolls, Will Saves, Listen Checks, and Spot Checks.

    Lesser Mastery: The bonuses from this ability increase by +1. By calling out to allies, you can help them out from afar. All allies who can see, hear, and understand you canít be flanked by opponents visible to the both of you if you call out to them in this way.

    Greater Mastery: The bonuses from this ability increase by +1. Furthermore, your observations of the battlefield allow you to notice things that donít belong. When you use this ability you gain a Will save to disbelieve each illusion with which you possess a line of sight that permits a will save to disbelieve (even if normally only allowed when interacted with).

    True Mastery: The bonuses from this ability increase by +1. By piecing together your enemyís plan of battle, you can see where foes are and, more importantly, where they should be and apparently arenít. Though you still canít see them (and thus suffer total concealment against them), you pinpoint the location of all hidden and invisible creatures within your line of sight.

    Blitz:
    Whether slashing or shooting, stabbing or throwing, you are quite adept at fighting on the move.
    Associated Classes: Monk, Scout, Swashbuckler
    Least Mastery: As a full round action, you can move up to your full speed and make a single attack at any point during your movement. This ability can be used while walking, swimming, flying, climbing, burrowing, or jumping. For the purpose of prerequisites, this combat technique counts as the Spring Attack feat.

    Lesser Mastery: When Blitzing, you can make an additional attack at your full Base Attack bonus. Furthermore, any creature whom you successfully damage with a blitz canít make an attack of opportunity against you for your movement this round. Each time beyond the first that you target a specific enemy with an attack while blitzing, the attack roll takes a cumulative -2 penalty.

    Greater Mastery: When blitzing, you can make a full attack (in addition to the extra attack) in combination with moving up to your speed.

    True Mastery: When blitzing, you can choose to make a single attack at your second-highest attack bonus against all creatures that pass within your reach (if using a melee weapon) or that come within 10 feet of you (if using ranged weaponry) in place of your normal attacks. If a ranged weapon requires any action to reload or otherwise prepare for another attack beyond a free action, it canít be used in this way. While making attacks in this way, your movement can only include a single turn of up to 90 degrees.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    I, for one, donít see any problem at all with spring attack at first level. Most things requiring it also require either a base attack bonus or another feat with a base attack bonus so things should work out okay. This allows for mobile players to go out there and act like a dervish. In case it isnít clear, the -2 penalty for repeated attacks was placed to keep this ability from becoming ďFull Attack +Ē. Also, I know that this will cause some confusion with the Scoutís skirmish ability but I really canít think of anything else to name it. Any suggestions?


    Cripple:
    The wounds you inflict are deep and painful, taking a long time to heal on their own.
    Associated Classes: Ninja, Ranger, Rogue, Scout
    Least Mastery:Whenever you make an attack roll against a living foe, you can declare your desire to cripple your opponent with the attempt. If the attack is successful, it deals only half damage but that damage is hard to recover. Damage dealt in this way canít be healed through fast healing, regeneration (though regeneration can still make it nonlethal), or through any other means apart from natural healing. Forms of physical damage that donít require attack rolls, such as rend or constrict, can also be made to cripple opponents.

    Lesser Mastery: Whenever you attempt to cripple a foe, you may take a -5 penalty to your attack roll to ensure great pain in your target. If you take this penalty and your attack succeeds, that opponent takes a stacking -1 penalty to Attack rolls, AC, Fortitude saves, and Reflex Saves. These penalties last for 1 hour (even if the wounds are somehow healed beforehand). Forms of physical damage that donít require attack rolls canít benefit from this ability.

    Greater Mastery: Whenever you successfully cripple a foe twice or more in a single round, that opponent must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + BAB) or become staggered and have its speed halved for 1 round. This effect does not stack with itself.

    True Mastery: Whenever you at least halve a targetís remaining hit points when crippling them, they must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + BAB) or fall unconscious as though lowered to -1 hit points (creatures that can remain conscious at negative hit points are immune to this effect). Furthermore, whenever you successfully cripple an opponent, the first five points of damage that you deal a foe after applying damage reduction and energy resistance canít be healed by any means until the target receives the benefits of a Wish or Miracle.

    Dirty Fighting:
    Beyond simply causing damage, you know how to mess up an opponent with your attacks.
    Associated Classes: Ninja, Rogue, Spellthief, Swashbuckler
    Least Mastery: In place of or in combination with normal attacks, you can make a special attack that disrupts a target in other ways. While such an attack deals normal damage, it also inflicts one of the following conditions upon the target for 1d4+1 rounds if it succeeds by at least 5 points. This condition can be negated with a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + your BAB). For each attack you make using Dirty Fighting, you must spend a single attack of opportunity. The conditions that you can inflict are: Blinded, Deafened, Entangled, Fatigued, and Sickened.

    Lesser Mastery: When using Dirty Fighting, you can increase the DC of the Fortitude save by +1 for every -2 penalty you willingly take to your attack roll (you may not lower your attack bonus below +0 in this way). Whenever you score a critical hit while using Dirty Fighting, the DC increases by +2 and the condition lasts until the end of the encounter if the target fails its saving throw.

    Greater Mastery: By spending two attacks of opportunity per such attack, you may use one of the following conditions if the attack succeeds by at least 10 points: Exhausted, Immobilized, Nauseated, or Stunned. If the attack succeeds by fewer than 10 but more than 5 points, you may still select one of the lesser conditions to apply.

    True Mastery: When using Dirty Fighting against a creature already affected by your Dirty Fighting, you gain a +10 bonus to the attack roll. Furthermore, flat-footed creatures take a -10 penalty to saving throws against your Dirty Fighting.

    Dodge:
    While others weigh themselves down with encumbering armor, you prefer to simply dodge attacks.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Monk, Ninja, Rogue, Scout, Swashbuckler
    Least Mastery: Whenever you are attacked, you may use an attack of opportunity for the round (if you have any remaining) to move 5 feet. Doing so doesnít let you avoid an attack altogether (even if you move beyond its reach or out of its path) but grants you a dodge bonus to your AC equal to your Dexterity modifier or +2 against the attack, whichever is higher. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity from the attacker and prevents the attacker from initiating a grapple if you move beyond the attackerís reach. This combat technique canít be used while wearing armor, carrying more than a light load, or while flat-footed or helpless. this ability counts as the dodge feat for the purpose of meeting prerequisites.

    Lesser Mastery: The Dodge bonus you are granted increases by +1 and when you move using this ability, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity from others. Furthermore, you may spend an extra attack of opportunity when you dodge (if you can) to gain a 20% miss chance against the attack.

    Greater Mastery: The Dodge bonus you are granted increases by +1 and the distance that you can travel with each use of this ability increases to 10 feet. When you would end up in an area effect, you may spend two attacks of opportunity (if you can) to use this ability as though you were attacked so long as you use the movement to leave the areaís range, gaining a 20% chance of ignoring it.

    True Mastery: The Dodge bonus you are granted increases by +1. If you would be hit by an attack or suffer damage from an area effect even after using this ability, you can sacrifice all of your remaining attacks of opportunity for the round (minimum 1) to make a Reflex save and subtract the result from any damage that you take from the attack (secondary effects like poison, however, still occur).

    Notes and Explanation:
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    And now, something for those who donít want to go around in armor. While most iterations of this ability that Iíve seen allow characters so simply auto-dodge anything by moving out of the way, this has always struck me as a bit cheap and so Iím going with an AC boost and an eventual miss chance. I do realize that this ability stops a lot of full-attacking but there are at least two other combat techniques detailed below that would prevent this from happening (see Engage and Pursue) and allowing things to even out a bit.


    Engage:
    You can keep enemies busy dealing with you. If they ignore your threat, they will live to regret it.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Hexblade, Knight, Paladin
    Least Mastery: As a swift action, you can spend any number of attacks of opportunity and choose an equal number of creatures within your reach (whether or not you threaten that area). Until the start of your next round, you are engaged with those creatures. Whenever a creature that you are engaged with attacks a target other than yourself, you may make an attack of opportunity against them.

    Lesser Mastery: Foes that you have engaged with gain no benefit from flanking you and canít use the aid-another tactic on one-another. As a full-round action, you can make a single attack against each creature that you are engaged with. If making these attacks with ranged weaponry, you donít provoke attacks of opportunity from those creatures. This combat technique now counts as whirlwind attack for the purposes of meeting prerequisites.

    Greater Mastery: Whenever a foe you are engaged with attempts to move beyond your reach, you may spend an attack of opportunity to force them to make a Will save (DC 10 + your BAB). If the Will save fails, that foe canít move beyond your reach. This does not prevent involuntary movement or teleportation effects.

    True Mastery: Whenever a foe you are engaged with makes an attack against you, you may expend two attacks of opportunity. If you do, that attack is made both against you and against another creature you are engaged with of your choice as you trick the attacker into attacking their ally.

    Guerilla Warfare:
    You have mastered the art of striking at others and vanishing back into your environment.
    Associated Classes: Ranger, Ninja, Rogue, Scout, Spellthief
    Least Mastery: At the end of any action in which you have attacked, if you possess cover or concealment, you can make a hide check with a -10 penalty. If you do so, you cannot make or spend attacks of opportunity for 1 round.

    Lesser Mastery: When using Guerilla Warfare, you may move up to 5 feet before making your hide check as a free action so long as this movement ends with you possessing cover or concealment. The hide check you make only suffers a -5 penalty.

    Greater Mastery: If you succeed on your hide check against a foe you have damaged within the same round while using Guerilla Warfare, that foe is treated as flat-footed by all other attackers for 1 round and that target takes a -5 penalty to all opposed spot checks made against others during this time.

    True Mastery: When using Guerilla Warfare, you may move up to 10 feet before making your hide check as a free action so long as this movement ends with you possessing cover or concealment. You no longer take a penalty to your Hide check when using this ability.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    Though obviously intended for snipers, this ability also allows for games of melee ďhide-and-seekĒ in dense forests, abandoned ruins, thick fog, and crowded streets. Not much to explain.


    Inspire Fear:
    You intimidate those around you in combat, breaking their will to continue the fight.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Hexblade, Marshall, Ninja, Rogue, Samurai
    Least Mastery: Whenever you hit a creature with an attack during your action, you may immediately end your action and submit the target of your attack to a Will save (DC 10 + your BAB). Alternately, you may spend a full-round action to select a creature up to 100 feet away. If that creature can see and hear you, it makes a Will save against the same DC. Either way, creatures who fail their will save are shaken for 1d4+1 rounds and those who succeed canít be affected by this ability when used by you for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.

    Lesser Mastery: Whenever you Inspire Fear upon scoring a critical hit, the target of your attack takes a -5 penalty to its Will save. Whenever you spend a full-round action to Inspire Fear, you may select a number of targets up to your Base Attack Bonus. Lastly, any creature who fails on its saving throw by 5 or more points is frightened instead of shaken.

    Greater Mastery: You Inspire Fear upon making an attack that knocks a creature to 0 or fewer hit points, forcing all creatures within your reach (or within 10 feet if using a ranged weapon) to make Will saves against fear. When you spend a full-round action to Inspire Fear, there is no maximum range for your targets so long as they can see and hear you. Lastly, any creature who fails on its saving throw by 10 or more points is panicked instead of frightened.

    True Mastery: If you Inspire Fear within 1 round of delivering a killing blow to one or more creatures, any target with HD up to half of your Base Attack Bonus who witnessed the killing blow and who fails their saving throw is Panicked instead of Shaken. If they failed their saving throw by 5 points or more, they instead cower in fear for the normal duration.

    Outmaneuver
    When properly mounted, you and your mount can control the way in which others move.
    Associated Classes: Knight, Paladin, Scout
    Least Mastery: While mounted on a trained creature with a speed faster than your own, you can spend a move action to attempt to outmaneuver enemies for 1 round. Your mount gains a +10 foot bonus to its speed for 1 round and you can command it to make a bull rush or overrun attempt during this time as a free action (to you). Lastly, any square that your mount passes through within the next round is treated as difficult terrain until the start of your next action.

    Lesser Mastery: While Outmaneuvering others on a mount, you may utilize combat techniques that would move you (such as dodge) and move your mount along with you. Furthermore, overrun attempts that your mount makes canít be avoided and neither bull rush nor overrun attempts that your mount makes provoke attacks of opportunity. Lastly, both you and your mount gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC.

    Greater Mastery: While Outmaneuvering others on a mount, any square that your mount passes through within the next round canít be passed through by others unless they make a successful reflex save (DC 10 + your BAB). Also, your mount receives an additional +10 foot bonus to its speed.

    True Mastery: While Outmaneuvering others on a mount, neither of you nor your mount provoke attacks of opportunity for the mountís movement. When making an overrun or bull rush attempt, your mount counts as one size category larger. Lastly, the dodge bonus you and your mount receive increases by +1.

    Parry:
    Whether through timing or brute force, you have a gift for deflecting one attack with another.
    Associated Classes: Swashbuckler, Knight
    Least Mastery Whenever a melee attack is made against you, you may spend an attack of opportunity to make an opposed attack roll against the one made against you. For every size category smaller than the attacker that you are, you take a -4 penalty to this attack roll. If your attack roll is successful, the attack misses you. You cannot parry while flat-footed or helpless. You only parry physical attacks in this way (not rays).

    Lesser Mastery: By taking a -5 penalty to your attack roll, you can either parry a ranged weapon or parry an attack using a ranged weapon (you may do both by taking a -10 penalty to the roll).

    Greater Mastery: By taking a -5 penalty to your attack roll, you can parry a magical or supernatural ray aimed at you (this stacks with the -5 penalty for parrying a ranged attack).

    True Mastery: Whenever you successfully counter an attack, you may spend another attack of opportunity for the round (if you possess any) to use the result of your attack roll as an attack of opportunity against your attacker. The attacker must be within your reach (if using a melee weapon) or within 1 range increment (if using a thrown or ranged weapon).

    Notes and Explanation:
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    Yup, thatís right. With this ability, you can finally parry an opponentís blade like a warblade with wall of blades. It isnít easy, mind you, but it is finally an option on the table and the penalties donít seem too insurmountably huge in most cases. If they still seem too unreasonably large, Iíll reduce all of the penalties to -2.


    Penetrating Shot:
    Using the full power of your weapon, you can make a shot that keeps travelling after hitting its target.
    Associated Classes: Ranger, Rogue, Scout
    Least Mastery: As a full-round action, you may make a single ranged attack. In a way, this attack is treated as a line effect out to the outermost reach of your weapon. You make your attack roll against the nearest enemy falling on this line. If the attack hits, the same attack roll result -2 is used as another attack against the next enemy to fall on this line. A natural 20 only guarantees that the first attack hits and additional penalties may be applied depending on range increments and other normal factors. No more than two targets can be hit at a time with this ability.

    Lesser Mastery: When you loose a Penetrating Shot, you target all enemies along the line within the first two range increments of your weapon. For each successful attack made in this way, the attack roll result takes another -2 penalty against the next target. A single missed attack roll stops the attack from travelling further down the line. If there are two or fewer targets within the first two range increments of your weapon, this ability instead functions as normal with least mastery.

    Greater Mastery: When you loose a Penetrating Shot, you treat all attack rolls made with the shot as touch attacks. Furthermore, for every point by which you exceed a targetís AC with this shot, you ignore one point of any damage reduction that they may have. Lastly, you can be a bit more precise and discerning with your Penetrating Shots. The initial target of the shot need not be the closest enemy to you on the line and though later targets must be further down the line, you can ďskipĒ attacking any number of foes.

    True Mastery: When you loose a Penetrating Shot, you can target any or all enemies along the line, regardless of how far they are from you or one another. Each target must still be further down the line than the last, however, and a single missed attack ends the series of attacks.

    Pursue:
    You can prepare yourself to follow after opponents as soon as they flee, never letting them escape.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Swashbuckler
    Least Mastery: As a move action, you may prepare to pursue any creature in your threatened area. If that creature moves out of your threatened area within the next round, you can instantly move up to your speed if doing so would keep the creature in your threatened area. You may pursue a creature who endures involuntary movement such as a bull rush and even after teleportation (though you do not teleport yourself). You may only ready a pursuit against one creature at a time.

    Lesser Mastery: When you prepare to pursue a creature, you need not spend further move actions in future rounds to continue pursuing the creature. Your pursuit ends if you decide not to pursue a target when it moves, if you are unable to pursue a target when it moves, or when you start pursuing another target. If either you or the target are killed or knocked unconscious, the pursuit similarly ends.

    Greater Mastery:While prepared to pursue a creature, that creature provokes attacks of opportunity from you for using the Tumble skill, for withdrawing, and for taking 5-foot steps. Other forms of movement that wouldnít normally provoke attacks of opportunity function normally against you. Your speed increases by +10 feet for the purpose of pursuing targets.

    True Mastery: Whenever a creature you are pursuing attempts to teleport or use extradimensional travel, you may make an attack of opportunity against that target. If the attack is successful, the target can only use this ability if it is capable of taking you along as well (such as teleport or planeshift), otherwise failing entirely.

    Rally:
    With the right words, you can rally your allies and bring out new strength within them.
    Associated Classes: Bard, Dragon Shaman, Marshall, Paladin, Samurai
    Least Mastery: As a full-round action, you can attempt to rally your allies, rousing them to action and greatness. Allies within 30 feet gain immunity to the Shaken condition, canít be demoralized though the Intimidate skill, and gain a +1 bonus to one saving throw of your choice for as long as you continue rallying the forces. Though starting a rally requires a full-round action, only a move action is required to continue it each round unless you want to change what saving throw is chosen.

    Lesser Mastery: Your attempts to Rally affect all allies within 100 feet of yourself. So long as you continue rallying, allies can continue fighting at negative hit points as though they possessed the diehard feat. The bonus granted by this ability increase by +1.

    Greater Mastery: So long as you continue Rallying, your allies gain a +3 bonus to either attack rolls, damage rolls, or to AC (your choice). It requires a full-round action to change which bonus is affected in this way, at which time you can also change which saving throw receives a bonus. The bonus granted to saving throws increases by +1.

    True Mastery: So long as you continue Rallying, it becomes incredibly hard to kill allies in range through damage. Even knocked below -10 hit points, your allies can continue functioning. Death effects and abilities that destroy oneís body (such as implosion), however, still function normally. A creature can only remain below -10 hit points for up to 3 rounds at a time, however, dying at the end of that period if their hit points havenít been raised to at least -9. You do not gain this benefit. Furthermore, the bonuses granted by this ability increase by +1.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    Before anyone else says it, I know that this should probably grant a morale bonus. There is a reason that it doesnít, however. This ability is supposed to stack with bardic music, marshal auras, and the like.


    Recuperate:
    Given a moment to catch your breath, you can prepare yourself to enter the fray once more.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Hexblade, Knight, Monk, Paladin, Samurai
    Least Mastery: If at half of your total hit points or less, you can spend a standard action to heal hit points equal to your Base Attack Bonus.

    Lesser Mastery: If you recuperate and havenít been harmed within the last round, you instead heal hit points equal to twice your Base Attack Bonus.

    Greater Mastery: Whenever you recuperate, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Base Attack Bonus (or twice as many if you havenít been harmed within the last round) that last for 1 hour.

    True Mastery: You may recuperate as a move action. Temporary hit points gained through multiple uses of this ability used within a single round stack with themselves.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    This is here as a relatively low-power and low-cost means of healing. At +20 BAB, you could potentially gain 80 HP and 80 temporary HP in a round, which is pretty darn good for a non-caster. If you donít want to carry a heal-bot around, recuperate is a decent second-choice for those who can get it.


    Shrug it Off:
    Through sheer grit and willpower, you can force yourself to power through most forms of ailment.
    Associated Classes: Barbarian, Hexblade, Knight, Monk, Paladin, Samurai
    Least Mastery: Whenever you would be afflicted with one of the following conditions, you can instantly negate that condition. In exchange, you lose your next action and move up one place in initiative on future rounds (if already first in initiative, you instead move to last in initiative and may thus act again in the round). The conditions you can negate in this way are entangled, dazed, fascinated, fatigued, shaken, and sickened. Once you have used this ability, you canít do so again until you have missed your next action.

    Lesser Mastery: The following conditions can be negated through this ability: ability damage, confusion, exhausted, frightened, immobilized, nauseated, poisoned, and stunned.

    Greater Mastery: The following conditions can be negated through this ability: ability drain, blinded, charm effects, deafened, diseased, feebleminded.

    True Mastery: The following conditions can be negated through this ability: compulsion effects, death effects, energy drain, and effects that would alter your form against your will (such as baleful polymorph or flesh to stone).

    Notes and Explanation:
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    And now for a fundamental ďmundaneĒ class feature that Iíve seen on far too many fighter fixes to count, cancelling out ďstatus effectsĒ through pure grit. Unlike the much-famed Iron Heart surge, this combat technique is reasonable and fairly sane. The initiative-cycling is there so that if a creature spams you with an annoying condition every round, you will eventually heal it and get an action to kill it or escape before it can do so again.
    Despite being sane, though, this ability does carry lots of implications in its own right. Even a lowly fighter 1 can shake off fatigue, level 5 combatants need not worry about poison or ability damage of any source, and the dreaded dust of coughing and sneezing may well create a 1 turn delay per use rather than acting as an insta-kill. This ability puts a pretty epic amount of resilience into a playerís hands so be aware of how that affects the world. At the same time, not everyone in the world will have this specific ability so such status effects need not become worthless to PCs


    Sic:
    With a single word and gesture, you can sic your ally on those who stand in your way.
    Associated Classes: Druid, Ranger
    Least Mastery: As a standard action, you can have an adjacent wild ally who can hear and see you make a natural attack of your choice against a target of your choice within its reach. A wild ally is defined as any friendly or helpful animal or magical beast (including most mounts). You canít, however, sic wild allies with CR greater than your BAB on anyone.

    Lesser Mastery: For 1 round after siccing a wild ally on a target, you may spend two attacks of opportunity to force the wild ally to make an attack of opportunity in your place (if the target is within its reach) in addition to its normal attack of opportunity (if any). You canít force a wild ally to exceed its own limit of attacks of opportunity per round in this way. Furthermore, you can sic up to two wild allies on enemies (they need not have the same target) as a standard action

    Greater Mastery: You can command a wild ally to sic a creature from any distance, so long as they can see and hear you. As a move action, you can grant a move action to a wild ally who can hear and see you (though you canít direct where it goes). Lastly, you gain cover so long as you remain adjacent to a wild ally that you have sicced on another within the last round.

    True Mastery: As a full-round action, you can sic yourself and up to four wild allies on enemies, having them make a total of four attacks divide any way amongst them and yourself that you choose against targets of your choice. You canít make a wild ally make more attacks in this way than a full attack would allow in this way.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    Yup, even a combat technique for wild-men. Not sure if I like this one as much as I like some others, though I can't figure out why. If someone has an idea for this thing, feel free to let me know.


    Spell Disruption:
    With the proper threatening gesture or distracting movement you can stop spellcasters in their tracks.
    Associated Classes: Hexblade, Monk, Spellthief
    Least Mastery: Whenever a spellcaster within your reach (or within 10 feet if using a ranged weapon) starts casting a spell or spell-like ability, you may spend an attack of opportunity to roll damage against the spellcaster as though you had hit them with an attack of opportunity (even if they successfully cast defensively). Though the spellcasterís hit points arenít lowered, they must make a Concentration check to focus on their spell as though they had taken the damage. This ďdamageĒ does not stack with damage from an attack of opportunity you may make (though such an attack may force an additional Concentration check).

    Lesser Mastery: Whenever you hit a spellcaster with an attack, you may spend two attacks of opportunity. If you do so, the next spell or spell-like ability that the target attempts to cast within the next round is subjected to your Spell Disruption at no further cost to you as pain from the attack distracts them. This occurs regardless of distance between you and the caster at the time of casting and regardless of whether you are aware of the casting. Roll the same damage for Spell Disruption as was rolled for the attack that hit. Multiple uses of this ability on a single caster donít stack.

    Greater Mastery: Whenever you use Spell Disruption on a spellcaster, itís effects extend to all spells and spell-like abilities that spellcaster attempts to cast until the end of its next action, forcing it to make a new Concentration check against the same DC each time it attempts to cast a spell. If you use Spell Disruption again on the same caster during this time, use only the highest of all Concentration DCs achieved in this way.

    True Mastery: Whenever you would use Spell Disruption on a spellcaster, you may pay all of your remaining attacks of opportunity (minimum 2) to simply cause that spell or spell-like ability to fail, wasting the spell slot/prepared spell/daily use with no effect. Likewise, when you hit a spellcaster with an attack, you may pay all of your remaining attacks of opportunity (minimum 2) to cause the next spell or spell-like ability that the spellcaster attempts cast to fail in an identical manner (the spellcaster is unaware of this effect). This effect does not extend past the single spell stopped in this way.

    Take Aim:
    With a bit of time and patience, you can prepare a highly accurate strike against an opponent.
    Associated Classes: Ranger, Rogue, Scout
    Least Mastery: At the beginning of your action, you may select a creature with which you possess a line of sight and spend any number of attacks of opportunity. If you donít take any aggressive actions until the start of your next action, your next ranged attack roll against that target before the end of your next action gains a bonus of equal size. If you lose line of sight with your target at any point before making the attack, this bonus is lost. Multiple bonuses gained in this way do not stack.

    Lesser Mastery: If the target of an aimed attack is flat-footed or otherwise doesnít receive its Dexterity bonus to its AC (whether or not it has one), you receive a bonus to your damage roll equal to your attack roll bonus from aiming. Furthermore, if the target would leave your line of sight for any reason, you may make an attack of opportunity against them (if you have any remaining), though this attack gains no bonus from having aimed.

    Greater Mastery: After making an aimed attack against an opponent, you may instantly spend any number of attacks of opportunity to aim another attack against the same target (even though you have taken an aggressive action this round). Furthermore, losing line of sight with your target doesnít cause you to lose the benefits of aiming so long as you regain line of sight before the start of your next round.

    True Mastery: The benefits of aiming an attack at a foe extend to all ranged attacks you make at that foe in the following round. Furthermore, if you attack using constructed weaponry, the threat range for your attacks is increased by half of the attack bonus gained for aiming.

    Team Up:
    Working together with another, the two of you can fight together as a single unit.
    Associated Classes: Dragon Shaman, Knight, Marshall, Paladin, Rogue, Swashbuckler
    Least Mastery: As a full-round action, you can grant any ally that can hear and see you a move action and can team up with them if they are willing. If the ally doesnít already possess this combat technique, they must temporarily replace one of their techniques with this one (at the same degree) to accept the Team Up until the end of the encounter, until either you of dissolve the team up as a move action, or until you Team Up with another ally. If the ally doesnít have any combat techniques, they are granted this one at least mastery. You gain a +5 bonus to Aid Another checks made to help your partner in a Team Up and may make such a check as a swift action.

    Lesser Mastery: If you are Teamed Up and your partner would take hit point damage from any source while within your reach, you may spend two attacks of opportunity (if able) to take half of all damage that your partner would take. You gain a +1 bonus to AC and Saving Throws while adjacent to your partner.

    Greater Mastery: Whenever you Team Up, you may select one combat technique of your partner and replace one of your other techniques with it for the duration of the Team Up, gained at a degree equal to that of the replaced technique or that of the technique being copied, whichever is less.

    True Mastery: If you are Teamed Up and your partner successfully attacks a foe, you may spend two attacks of opportunity to make an attack against them as well. If the attack hits, it automatically threatens a critical hit.


    FAQs and Other Notes:

    What Combat Techniques Do:
    If you're wondering why it is worth using combat techniques in the first place, I consider them capable of...
    • allowing for some more complex and meaningful actions: The old days of "I hit it with my sword" can be replaced with more interesting actions that have some tactical bearing on the battle beyond taking an opponent's hit points (of which it only really needs one to keep fighting unfazed).
    • making some traditional and iconic actions in combat possible: Parrying and dodging attacks, rallying your allies, shrugging off harmful effects, and other such effects can be duplicated through combat techniques (and without needing to spend one or more precious feats to do so).
    • allowing play of less powerful classes: With Combat Techniques to help pick up the slack, many of the more maligned 3.5 classes (such as the Paladin, Ranger, Hexblade, Soulborn, Swashbuckler, and even the CW Samurai) gain at least some degree of playability. While they'll never never be the optimal choice, Combat Techniques allow for players of such classes to still contribute meaningfully.
    • creating variety among a race of monsters: Typically, if a DM wants to run an encounter against many creatures of a given race, every combatant is pretty much identical and even switching feats rarely does more than shuffle a few numbers. With Combat Techniques, however, a group of 5 ogres can become 2 Ogrish Wardancers with dodge and skirmish, two Ogrish Warriors with Engage and Recuperate, and an Ogre warchief with Assess Battlefield and Rally.


    What Combat Techniques are Not:
    While my combat techniques can serve a variety of different purposes, they are not here to...
    • Even the battleground between casters and noncasters: as far as I'm concerned, nothing beyond an epic nerf of spellcasting would accomplish this.
    • Give each player a wide array of options in combat: seeing as each combat technique makes a new action possible, it may look exactly like this was my purpose. In reality, however, I acknowledge that most users of this system would still probably focus around their character's Plan A rather than build a Plan B. An archer, for example, might take aim and let loose a penetrating shot set to cripple enemies and blind them through dirty fighting before using guerilla warfare to hide back in the bushes as regularly and predictably as Fighter 4 swings a sword every round. More complex and deep strategies, perhaps, but more varied somehow doesn't seem likely.
    • Create balance between Gishes/ToB classes and other mundane fighters: This is not my goal for these techniques and never was. Though I do explore the possibility of only granting these techniques to the "other mundane fighters" below, I created these techniques to be granted to everyone, including warblades and duskblades. While these techniques give a bit of "wiggle-room" to play with weaker classes and still participate meaningfully and have fun, those weaker classes are still weaker classes.


    Wait, what about Tome of Battle?
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    Looking at my claims at the start of this very post, you may wonder how I could view the contents of the ToB to not be complex and deep combat.

    My answer, unsurprisingly, is that I don't believe that. Tome of Battle is a very deep book. The Crusader/Swordsage/Warblade were all very lucky. What about everyone else? Though Maneuvers make up a very nice "mundane magic system", it only applies to the three classes in the book that can use it. Combining them with the Duskblade and Psychic Warrior, we might have something like 5 halfway decent frontline fighters out of about 20 classes designed to do front-line fighting.

    What Tome of Battle seemed to do, at least from my perspective, is shout out "Hey, guys. You can have all of the deep, meaningful, and tactical combat that you could have ever wished for... so long as said combat is performed with one of three classes."

    Instead of writing up fixes for every martial base class and incorporating maneuvers into each one, I created a core mechanic that effects everyone equally without need for revisions.

    Instead of writing up specialty disciplines of maneuvers that allow for almost any technique that any archtype of any martial class would want, I wrote up twenty fairly generic abilities that cover a decently wide range of what mundane attackers could hope to accomplish.

    I'm not trying to put down all of those fine folks who've gone through the trouble of writing up dozens of disciplines and initiator base classes, mind you. I'm honestly in awe at the sheer amount of work that is available. This is just an attempt to see what a simpler "shortcut" would look like.


    Introducing Combat Techniques: Whole or Piecemeal?
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    When I was first making these techniques, I was wondering how it would be incorporated into a campaign. I discuss it being used as a universal mechanic but I can see merits in not doing so for various reasons. I personally suggest using it as a more universal concept but here are the other arguments I can think up of, if that doesn't sound inviting:

    Gish and Initiators: For one thing, I could easily see the argument that initiators already have maneuvers to work with and that (functional) gish classes like the duskblade have spells. I somehow doubt that sprinkling Combat Techniques on top of them will push them over any lines of "broken-dom" that they haven't already crossed. On the other hand, only granting them to other classes (weaker ones, mostly), might make a bit of sense.

    Monsters: If applying Combat Techniques to monsters would take too much time or if the players are already likely to have problems in battle, I could understand not giving monsters Combat Techniques. Conversely, if the players need no assistance but the monsters need a hand jsut to put of a fight, I could see an argument for only using Combat Techniques on Monsters.



    Last Note: Please forgive any mistakes in my spelling/grammar/formatting for the moment. I (of course) chose to post all of this up on the internet pretty late at night when my last-minute-editing skills are pretty darn bad.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-10-07 at 09:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Just magnificent. I've loved your work before now, but this is simply amazing. I was going to write questions, but it ended up that most of them was just me misreading things (I can't find any I don't think I understand, now, anyway).

    I intend to use these in my games. They seem like a great fix.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    These are fantastic, and I would absolutely love to see more of them on the way. As is though, they still remain head and shoulders above any other mechanic outside of wholesale class fixes.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    The Other Big Change: Attacks of Opportunity:
    Using Combat Techniques, one other change of note must be made to the core rules, involving attacks of opportunity. Each creature and character gain a number of attacks of opportunity each round equal to half of its Base Attack Bonus (minimum 1). Combat Reflexes adds more to this number as normal. Quite a few combat techniques that Iíve made use attacks of opportunity as a form of round-by-round currency to spend on abilities.
    Round up or down?

    Favored Classes:

    Does this have any mechanical significance?


    Wait, nevermind, I see it now.
    Last edited by paddyfool; 2011-10-05 at 07:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    I'm going to use some of these for an opponent for my party...

    Should be fun .
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    This is up there with the best content you've ever written in my opinion. But I have one BIG gripe: the Fighter gets access to none of this stuff? Whaaaaaat?
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-10-05 at 02:00 AM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    But... it does.

    EVERYONE does.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    But... it does.

    EVERYONE does.
    Maybe I'm reading it incorrectly, but it seems really unclear to me:

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Everyone from Ogres to Commoners to Samurai to Fighters to Wizards can and likely will take advantage of Combat Techniques, though front-line combatants get the most use out of it.
    Okay, makes sense, and indicates that Fighters should have access.

    How Does One Gain Combat Techniques?
    Implementing Combat Techniques as a core mechanic, I tied it into another core mechanic that most front-line combatants have in abundance: Base Attack Bonus. As the Base Attack Bonus of a creature or character increases, they gain more combat techniques and those they have are empowered as displayed on the table below:
    Sounds awesome, this makes base attack bonus more of an equivalent to caster level, which is always good.

    In order for a Combat Technique to reach its next stage, at least half of your HD (including both racial HD and class HD), rounded up must meet certain prerequisites depending on the stage in question.

    {table=head]To Reach StageÖ | Prerequisites

    1 | --

    2 | at least 3/4 Base Attack Bonus progression

    3 | full Base Attack Bonus or HD gained through levels in favored classes.

    4 | HD gained through fighter levels or through levels in favored classes[/table]
    This is where I'm getting confused, but I think I've got it now. A Fighter will always be able to access Stage 4 Techniques. Of any of the abilities. Nice.

    However, the measurement scheme feels really weird to me. At BAB +5, you can advance to Stage 2, but you need half your HD rounded up to grant you 3/4 BAB. For example, a Wizard 4/Rogue 4 could advance techniques to Stage 2, as could a straight Cleric 7, or a Barb 1/Fighter 2/Ranger 2, but a Wizard 5/Fighter 3 could not advance his techniques.

    I don't have any suggestions for changing the measurement mechanics really, I think I'm too tired, but the above just seems very awkward. Maybe just require a number of class levels in Fighter or favored classes (should probably change this to "associated classes" to avoid confusion with the existing favored class mechanics of races) to gain the next Stage advancements?
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-10-05 at 02:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    I do like this. One thing I'd be tempted to suggest would be to add a few of the Racial HD to favoured classes, where an ability particularly fits a given fantasy race. Some fitting ideas:

    Inspire fear: Aberration, Dragon or Undead HD
    Pursue: Animal, Magical Beast or Vermin HD
    etc.

    This would be easier for the narrower than the broader types, of course.

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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Ziegander: I wasn't going to say anything but I see that you've discovered my "hidden" fighter fix. Not only can the fighter master any ability but the timing of those abilities fills up all of a fighter's dead levels.

    While the requirements do look odd, even this oddness serves a quite specific purpose by focusing builds on martial classes (merely dipping for the goods is no longer and option). Even if using your suggested system of requiring a # of class levels meeting prerequisites, the requirement for stage 2 would likely be 4 levels. This would mean, however, that the current Rogue 4/Wizard 4 and Fighter 4/Wizard 2 still work and the Wizard 5/Fighter 3 still doesn't and things still end up looking equally arbitrary.

    Also, one of my goals with the advancement was to have somewhat asynchronous advancement rather than putting all techniques on possesses at a single level and having that wierd phenomenon where a player is suddenly totally awesome at something that they couldn't do before.

    I could have set things up so that each ability levels up separately for every 4 HD you gain that meet prerequisites or something but that would result in far lower-leveled abilities over all and would create a headache of its own in terms of recording what level you gained what at.

    Of the various methods I looked at, only the wierd and wonky system that I went with seemed to quite suit my needs.

    Not sure how I feel about requiring a # of class levels meeting prerquisites but I will admit that my system is a bit wonky, however.

    Favored Classes will become associated classes.

    paddyfool: I'd be tempted to do just tha t but I'm not seeing that many creature types that seem to have combat techniques calling out to them.

    Also, I do believe that in 3.5, the rule is to always round down unless specified to the contrary.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-10-05 at 08:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Adapt, Assess the Battlefield and Rally should all be Standard Actions.

    Assess the Battlefield stage 2 is very, very unclear, and needs rewording to explain when its ability is actually active.

    That's just from a skim, but otherwise, it looks good. I like it.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    So you not only punish characters for PrCing, you also punish people for not only taking levels in favored classes.

    Why should a full-class Barbarian be punished for not being a half-orc, exactly? Or a dwarf punished for being a Ranger?

    And, oy, Swashbucklers and Hexblades, I don't think any races have those as their favored class. Now hexblades I could see with their curse and spells maybe not with the needing of the final tier so much, but swashbucklers? They're pretty much in the same boat as rogues and fighters but without the ability of either to have a real shtick.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2011-10-05 at 01:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    So you not only punish characters for PrCing, you also punish people for not only taking levels in favored classes.

    Why should a full-class Barbarian be punished for not being a half-orc, exactly? Or a dwarf punished for being a Ranger?
    The Favored Classes you're talking about and the Favored Classes this system are talking about aren't the same thing. Read the Technique descriptions ó each has a set of Favored Classes associated with it.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    The Favored Classes you're talking about and the Favored Classes this system are talking about aren't the same thing. Read the Technique descriptions ó each has a set of Favored Classes associated with it.
    Well that was a poor choice of terminology.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    The Favored Classes you're talking about and the Favored Classes this system are talking about aren't the same thing. Read the Technique descriptions ó each has a set of Favored Classes associated with it.
    That's why I suggested changing the language to "associated classes" rather than "favored classes." I knew this would happen. XD

    I had a different scheme for acquiring techniques last night just before I went to bed and I liked the way it sounded in my sleepy brain, but I can't remember it now. I'll try and think about it some more today.

    EDIT: However, I also want to echo the concern over punishing characters for taking prestige classes. A Paladin 5/PrC 5/PrC 10 is still woefully underpowered, so really forcing someone to stay Paladin 20 all the way is unnecessarily limiting. Ideally we come up with a way to regulate techniques that still makes BAB important, but allows more character concepts in a clean way.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-10-05 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Well, I took some time to clean up the terminology of the OP. Favored Classes are now Associated Classes and Stages have become degrees (not levels) of mastery.

    As far as fixing up the entire mess with associated classes, I've actually put a bit of thought into it and here is the primary idea that I think may fix things:

    Instead of requiring 1/2 of your HD meet the prerequisites for high degree technique, we may want to simply say that the magic number is 5.

    5 HD with 3/4 BAB for Lesser Mastery, 5 HD with full BAB or in Associated Classes for Greater Mastery, and 5 HD in fighter levels or associated class levels for true mastery.

    While this system would discourage early dips into Poor BAB classes (at least before the level 5 boost), it would allow characters to PRC out right when they normally would with no negative consequences of note.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-10-05 at 07:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    I'm going to speak heresy here and say that I actually kinda like the idea that you can't gain ultimate mastery without having more fighter levels than the above proposal, say 9, because there really should be a reward, however small, in sticking with your class.

    As a small means to limit my being lynched, perhaps on taking a PrC, or perhaps your first PrC, you can choose a Technique as an Associated Technique to the class?

    Perhaps really short ones might even offer the ability to claim Ultimate Mastery if you complete them?
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    First off, I love this.

    Secondly, in the text it says that a character gets Master of Combat at a BAB of +17, but in the chart at level 19. Which is correct? Are both correct? Please explain.

    Lastly, my suggestion to clear up this problem with associated classes, HD, BAB, and advancement would be in institute a different mechanic. What about instead of HD or BAB prereqs define a new stat similar to the Initiator Level used in Tome of Battle. Call it Combat Mastery Level (CML) or something. You then define which classes are Associated with each technique. Fighters would be Associated with every technique, wizards wouldn't be associated with any techniques. Associated classes would add a full point to the CML and non-associated classes and HD would only add half a point to the CML. Every time a character learns a technique it starts at the least degree of mastery, but the CML is calculated based on the players total HD and class levels. Whenever a character reaches a level with an Advancement, the player checks all his CML's to see if his techniques qualify for advancement:

    Least Mastery: --
    Lesser Mastery: CML equal to or greater than 3
    Greater Mastery: CML equal to or greater than 9
    True Mastery: CML equal to or greater than 13

    The player can only advance one degree at a time, ie from least to lesser, never least to greater, even if their CML was high enough to do so.

    To reiterate what you already said, if the character doesn't qualify for advancement at that level than they have to wait for the next chance to advance, and a character does not have to have a class associated with that technique to learn it, but they would have a slower advancement.

    PrC's could be an Associated Class of certain techniques on a case by case basis, ie DM fiat.
    Last edited by Book Wyrm; 2011-10-05 at 10:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Good work. I doubt I'll ever get to use it, but good work all the same.
    However, Take Aim seems a bit... lacking. It only provides a good bonus if you have Combat Reflexes and sink all your AoOs into it. Then again, it's not like an archer has anything better to do with them. Anyway, is there anything I'm missing.
    As for the effects of Shug it Off on the world... I think a decent amount of "gameplay and story segergation"-class handwavium is a good way to solve it.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Is Advancement Backwards Compatible? That is to say, a L.17 Fighter will have 9 True Mastery Techniques, or is 3 True Mastery Techniques, 2 Greater Mastery Techniques, 2 Lesser Mastery, and 2 Least Mastery more accurate?

    Adapt
    Lesser Mastery: At will? Only up to 5 rounds per encounter? Still. Super Cool.

    Cripple
    "or through any other means apart from natural healing." This includes magical cure spells? What about alchemical or otherwise natural items that restore hp (in the event of such objects, house-ruled or otherwise.)

    "Whenever you at least halve a targetís remaining hit points when crippling them"
    John the half-goat Warrior has 50/50 hp. Elfeerm, a Lizardfolk wizard-bloke, blasts John with a fireball leaving him at 25/50 hp. Henry the Quarterling Rogue stabs John with true mastery cripple for half damage with a toothpick, which deals 2 damage after adding in Henry's strength. 2 divided by 2 becomes 1. Does the True Mastery of Cripple take effect, or does it require 50% "crippling damage?" (25 points of damage to John through cripple actions?)

    Dirty Fighting
    I like the idea of using an alchemical item or some silly thing to blind my enemy with a blinding item. (Or Deafen with a deafening item). "Its not strong enough to blind it!" "Don't worry! I'll throw it at it's eyes!" Silly but fun. Anyhow, no questions, I just really like it.

    Dodge:
    Fun! Any chance that this can count for the feat dodge for pre-reqs?

    Engage
    The will save bit is nice, but it'd also be nice to be able to, by spending an AoO, gain an attack against those who take advantage of 5 ft steps, or withdraw actions.

    Guerilla Warfare
    Yay!

    Inspire Fear
    A pity it's so easily negated by immunity to mind-affecting and /or fear effects.

    Outmaneuver
    Fun stuff, makes me want to allow initiative rolled every round (though more complex) for when two characters are trying to out maneuver each other for epic race/chase scenes.

    Parry
    Excellent. I don't quite follow how a ranged attack parries a melee attack, but I'm not against it either.

    Penetrating Shot
    Lesser Mastery "If there are two or fewer targets within the first two range increments of your weapon, this ability instead functions as normal with least mastery."
    If there are two targets in the first two range increments, lesser mastery cannot (it seems) offer any benefit, as that it can only affect 2 targets.
    Greater Mastery "for every point by which you exceed a targetís AC with this shot," Touch AC or Full AC?

    How Does Penetrating Shot work with Barriers? Mountains, Shooting Downward, and castle walls, and the like. I see strange exploits with this, but am also okay with that.

    Rally
    I dig it. Could still call it a moral bonus that stacks with other moral bonuses (but not itself, in case the bard and the pally decided to take advantage), but leaving it untyped is fine too.

    Recuperate
    This. I want it, and I want it right now.

    Shrug it off
    Moving in Initiative is a funny thing, because it is based on scores not location, IIRC, a change to dexterity modifier increases retroactively a creature's Initiative score... Otherwise, great.

    Sic
    Does the Attack require anything from the wild Ally? A standard action? An Attack of opportunity? So 7 Dastardly Rangers are all adjacent to Bugsby the fire-mouthed bear, and each of them use their standard action to have Bugsby bite a target, would Bugsby bite 7 times, once on each of the Dastardly Ranger's turns, and then have a full round action to scratch himself inappropriately (as fire mouthed-bears are known to do in combat.) Not that this is over powered, and would require some very odd-ball placement and action choices, I'm just curious.

    "For 1 round after siccing..sicing?.. a wild ally on a target, you may spend two attacks of opportunity to either force the wild ally to make an attack of opportunity in your place..." There is no or option in this sentence.

    As for ideas, I'm not certain I can suggest anything that isn't covered by other manuevers designed for allies in general. Giving extra attacks a la Snake's Swiftness or however that spell is called, is an odd feeling mechanic. Maybe it could simply be a "better Rally" that works only on animals and such magical beasts? Maybe make it like, a passive (I know blasphemy) combat technique that allows you to command your animals to use your own combat techniques. Least allows for least, Lesser-lesser, etc. If animals can have combat techniques it doubles their repertoire, if not, it allows your animals to fight better. Just throwing things out there.

    Skirmish
    Call the scout ability something else? Fray? Fracas? Row? Blitz? Barrage? Storm? Onslaught? Irruption? Foray? Assail? Vigorous Assault? Clash? Ravage? Scrimmage? Warrior's Pounce?

    Not terribly clear how Lesser Mastery and Greater Mastery work together for Skirmish.

    Spell Disruption
    Easy counter-spelling for everyone! I like it.

    Take Aim
    Least Mastery could use a light touch up on it's language, though I think it's clear that the bonus gained to attack is equal to the number of AoO's spent. Oh, and love this one.

    Team Up
    This is great! Makes playing a body gaurd type character a lot easier!

    The biggest problem, though I am uncertain if it is really a problem, many of these require the use of the Combat Reflexes Feat to really be useful, but it does replace many feats.

    Apologies if comments are out-timed or have already been posted or commented on.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Book Wyrm: Thanks for the catch. Mastery is at +19 BAB.

    While your system would certainly be interesting, I think that it might create more headaches than it solves as a) you'd have another number to keep track of and b) that number would be different for each and every technique you possess.

    Morty/Chumplump: Judging by the way you talk about attacks of opportunity, it seems as though you may have missed a small paragraph before the actual combat techniques:

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    The Other Big Change: Attacks of Opportunity:
    Using Combat Techniques, one other change of note must be made to the core rules, involving attacks of opportunity. Each creature and character gain a number of attacks of opportunity each round equal to half of its Base Attack Bonus (minimum 1). Combat Reflexes adds more to this number as normal. Quite a few combat techniques that Iíve made use attacks of opportunity as a form of round-by-round currency to spend on abilities.
    Abilities like Aim and Engage do not require Combat Reflexes (though it still helps) because you can have up to 10 AoOs naturally by level 20.

    Chumplump:
    Adapt: Until you gain greater mastery, it's still 1/encounter with benefits lasting for 5 rounds. You just don't have to decide what things you replace (and what you replace them with) immediately.

    Cripple: Cripple is intended to stop alchemic healing, healing through dragon shamans and crusaders, healing through feats like second wind, and even healing through the recuperate combat technique. It is, after all, supposed to cripple foes rather than momentarily inconveniance them.

    Also lowering a person from 2 to 1 hit points would indeed knock them out if you have the proper degree of mastery.

    Dodge: I'll add the prerequisite feature right away. It really makes sense.

    Engage: I would put that ability there but I already gave it to Pursue (greater mastery).

    Penetrating Shot: Yup, lesser mastery only grants benefits over least mastery when there are at least 3 opponents within the first 2 range increments of the shot.

    You ignore DR for each point about the foe's Touch AC (as that's what you're targetting)

    No particular benefit against cover/concealment in this one (I almost made a similar ability named ricochet shot that would hit foes within a cone with thrown weapons and ignore cover but it looked too similar so I didn't end up making it).

    Sic Bugsby the bear can indeed gain 7 attacks. They don't call him fire-mouthed for nothing.

    The either shall be removed.

    Skirmish: Shall be renamed blitz.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Back to the racial hit die: what if you said: "For each source of racial hit die, you may select one combat technique for which these racial hit die will count as an associated class"? That way, the player/DM could pick something that fits their specific concept out of the wealth of options available and thus would have help making a more memorable monster.

    EDIT: A possible modification to this would be to make the full BAB racial hit die types (Dragon, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid & Outsider), and maybe Giant as well, count as associated classes for any two combat techniques. All of those could appropriately have good instinctive combat knowhow.
    Last edited by paddyfool; 2011-10-07 at 05:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post

    Morty/Chumplump: Judging by the way you talk about attacks of opportunity, it seems as though you may have missed a small paragraph before the actual combat techniques:
    Yeah, I did miss it. That does clear things up. Good to see some use for AoOs for ranged warriors, too.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Wow.... I'm amazed. This is great. This is just great. You actually figured out something like this... just Wow.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    I like the idea, but I disagree with your assessment and end result.

    Instead of writing up specialty disciplines of maneuvers that allow for almost any technique that any archtype of any martial class would want, I wrote up twenty fairly generic abilities that cover a decently wide range of what mundane attackers could hope to accomplish.
    More like if this were a race, the tome of battle and other gish classes were way ahead of previous martial classes like fighters and barbarians, and you gave everybody jetpacks... INCLUDING the tome of battle and gish classes!

    So nothing's changed... The only way to really give fighters and other pure martial classes an advantage is to directly alter their abilities and give them overpowered class-based feat trees. Pretending it's just a broad mechanics problem is not going to solve the clear power gap between classes.

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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar View Post
    I like the idea, but I disagree with your assessment and end result.


    More like if this were a race, the tome of battle and other gish classes were way ahead of previous martial classes like fighters and barbarians, and you gave everybody jetpacks... INCLUDING the tome of battle and gish classes!

    So nothing's changed... The only way to really give fighters and other pure martial classes an advantage is to directly alter their abilities and give them overpowered class-based feat trees. Pretending it's just a broad mechanics problem is not going to solve the clear power gap between classes.
    Uh... You might be missing the point of this.
    Or I could be misunderstanding RoC's intent, I'm sure he'll clarify.

    This gives non-magical classes something to use that isn't reliant on their magical equipment, isn't just "whack it with my sword", and is still useful in high-level play.
    It doesn't even the field between non-ToB martial classes and ToB classes/gishes, but it makes taking 8 or 9 levels of straight fighter not a complete waste, since that means you can get some extra True Masteries, regardless of which techniques you want, and it makes martial characters still dangerous at high-levels (and also now tanking can be a thing).
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Commissar View Post
    So nothing's changed... The only way to really give fighters and other pure martial classes an advantage is to directly alter their abilities and give them overpowered class-based feat trees. Pretending it's just a broad mechanics problem is not going to solve the clear power gap between classes.
    I... wasn't trying to fix any power gap between classes.

    If you look at the list of things that (I think) combat techniques do in the first post, "evening the playing field between normal folks and Initiators/Gishes" was not one of them. I didn't think it was and I don't believe I claimed it was. Among the things that I was trying to do was make some previously unplayable classes bearable.

    With Combat Techniques, you could roll up a character with a Complete Warrior class and play the game while contributing to battle, making important decisions, and not feeling completely useless. Would a ToB class be better, getting all of this on top of their normal goodies? Obviously so. Rather than trying to make more things evenly optimal, combat techniques give you "wiggle-room" to choose less optimal classes and still have fun. Even if you're a CW Samurai and you've got a Warblade on your team, you will presumably choose different combat techniques from the warblade and thus develop a niche for yourself in battle. So long as you're capable of functioning well and contributing to battle, I honestly fail to see how it is a problem that Warblades and Duskblades could be doing so better.

    Also, if you look at the last spoiler in the OP, I do explore the possibility of only granting these abilities to classes that aren't gishes/spellcasters/initiators (even though I don't truly recommend it as it doesn't make too much sense fluff-wise) and understand the reasons why it would be done.

    Edit: Also, take note that no ToB class and no gish (other than the druid) functions as the associated class for any technique. It's not much, I'll gladly admit, but it's not quite "nothing".
    Edit Edit: Swordsaged by absolmorph.
    Edit the Third: Put in another note that this was specifically not something that combat techniques were intended to do.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2011-10-07 at 09:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    I may have missed this, but what does having an associated class do?
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    A member of an associated class can achieve true mastery with a combat technique just as a fighter could.
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    Default Re: Combat Techniques: Adding Depth to Mundane Combat

    On cripple, just to clarify my question.
    If a Rogue 20 cripple-attacks a creature that was already at 49% hp (but not from crippling attacks)... Ah, I think I see what's going on here. I'm confused by the "half their current hit points with a cripple attack" as in deal damage equal to half their current hit points, not leave their current hit points equal to half their hit point total. Got it.
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