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    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    THE FIGHTER

    Yup, it’s my third fighter fix, coming only a couple of weeks after my previous one. This fix, however, is pretty much the antithesis of my previous fix. Instead of including tons and tons and tons of optimization strategies and build versatility, this class is probably the simplest class (fix or otherwise) that I’ve ever produced, possessing all of 3 class features written over the course of about one hour. Even so, I think that I’ve covered my main goal here, building a “foolproof” class that a newcomer can use with ease while allowing those with greater system mastery to make the most of the class. If someone new to D&D wants to use a decent fighter and you don’t want someone else building their character, this is intended as the go-to fighter.

    Alignment: Any
    Hit Die: d10

    Class Skills:
    The fighter’s class skills (and key ability score for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) × 4
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier

    The Fighter
    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special

    1st|+1|+2|+0|+0|Combat Mastery (1 points)

    2nd|+2|+3|+0|+0|Armsmaster +1

    3rd|+3|+3|+1|+1|Combat Mastery (2 points)

    4th|+4|+4|+1|+1|Combat Focus (+2)

    5th|+5|+4|+1|+1|Combat Mastery (3 points)

    6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Armsmaster +2

    7th|+7/+2|+5|+2|+2|Combat Mastery (4 points)

    8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Combat Focus (surge)

    9th|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3|Combat Mastery (5 points)

    10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Armsmaster +3

    11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Combat Mastery (6 points)

    12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+4|Combat Focus (+4)

    13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+4|Combat Mastery (7 points)

    14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Armsmaster +4

    15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Combat Mastery (8 points)

    16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5|Combat Focus (greater surge)

    17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Combat Mastery (9 points)

    18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+6|Armsmaster +5

    19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Combat Mastery (10 points)

    20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Combat Focus (+6)

    [/table]

    Class Features:

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Fighters are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, as well as with all forms of armor and with shields (including tower shields).

    Combat Mastery: Starting at first level, you possess vast wells of talent and training that you can call upon in combat. You gain one mastery point at each odd level. Whenever you make a Will save or any d20 roll to which you add a physical ability score modifier (Strength, Dexterity, and/or Constitution), you may spend any number of points before rolling to add a competence bonus of equal size to your roll. You may also spend points to gain a competence bonus twice as large to a single damage roll you make before rolling for damage (this extra damage is not multiplied with a successful critical hit). Finally, you may spend these points to gain a competence bonus of equal size to your AC against a single attack before the attack roll is made (you must be aware of the attack and be capable of movement to gain this last bonus). Points spent in any of these ways are fully regained at the start of each round.

    Alternatively, you may put some of this mastery to work in more persistent ways, calling upon your training to get you through battle. As a swift action, you may pay one mastery point to gain any bonus fighter feat you meet all prerequisites for other than martial study or martial stance. You retain this feat and the mastery point remains spent until you spend another swift action to lose the feat and regain the mastery point. If a feat possesses limitations on its use, losing and regaining the feat does not reset such limits. You need not make the same decision when taking feats like weapon focus each time you select them, however. You may use feats gained in this way as prerequisites for other feats obtained in this way but not for normal feats and you may not trade a feat back out for a mastery point until you have already traded back all other such feats that use it as a prerequisite. For the purpose of meeting prestige class prerequisites, you are treated as possessing all bonus fighter feats you meet the prerequisites for.

    Notes and Explanation:
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    There’s a lot to unpack here so stay with me for a bit. First of all, while this ability does create a resource for the fighter to track (something that some people don’t like), the pool remains relatively small throughout your entire career and refills each round, meaning that people new to the game have time to learn how they should distribute these points each round.

    Next, these points can be applied to a TREMENDOUS array of things by design, covering a huge chunk of a fighter’s weaknesses. It can add to both melee and ranged attacks (and notably to ranged damage!), patch up your poor saves, help you with random strength or constitution ability checks and a broad array of skills (helping to give you some out-of-combat usefulness), pumps your initiative to help you go first, allows you to grapple/trip/bull rush/etc with some real competence, and even saves you from a low touch AC when up against foes where that is a relevant threat. While the points can’t quite do EVERYTHING, the points were designed to be generally useful.

    Perhaps the greatest use, however, is trading them away for fighter feats. Yes, this guy basically has full access to the entire fighter feat list (probably one of the few ways to ensure that it can remain competent at all areas of “fighting”). Unlike similar systems I’ve seen, however, this isn’t a system of pre-selecting what feats you want at the start of each day and the switching process may take multiple rounds (especially if you want to complete a large feat chain or replace one chain with another). Thus, falling into “feat traps” is easily corrected within a round or two and newcomers can experiment without fear while veterans who know what feats are best in each situation can slowly and reliably optimize themselves for each situation.

    Finally, this class feature basically opens up all prestige classes as soon are you are leveled up enough to do so. I’ve always viewed transition into PrCs (if one desires) to be a relatively big part of being a fighter so I personally don’t have any real problem with this unless someone can find any particularly broken tricks this could be used to accomplish.

    Edit: Yes, the points can be applied to open lock checks. Yes, this is a bit odd. Seeing as it’s not usable untrained and isn’t a class skill, however, I’m not worrying too much about it and I see no reason to specifically rule out that one application.


    Armsmaster Starting at 2nd level, you have such experience in the battlefield that you can make the most out of whatever weaponry or armor you happen to possess at hand. You and/or your mount gain a +1 bonus to all attack and damage rolls and are always treated as wielding a magical weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. If you are wearing armor and/or your mount is wearing barding, increase the armor bonus provided by +1. If you are using a shield, increase the shield bonus by +1. All of these bonuses increase by +1 at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level and none of them stack with enhancement bonuses that magical weaponry, armor, and shields may possess.

    Notes and Explanation:
    Spoiler
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    Every time that I see these types of features pop up, I see people point out how saving a bit of money doesn’t really matter in the long run and how the fighter “doesn’t need bigger numbers”. At the end of the day, however, this ability isn’t about getting bigger numbers but about keeping relevant numbers across a number of situations without forcing you to spend all of your money.

    If you need a bludgeoning and a piercing and a slashing weapon and a ranged weapon and adamantine/silver/cold iron/byeshk weaponry, this is how you can do so with relevant enhancement bonuses without totally breaking the bank or forcing you to use morphine metalline weapons. If you’re dispelled or disjoined or robbed and don’t want to lose the numbers that make you relevant, this is an ability that can help. If you don’t want to abandon a weapon or shield with a useful ability just because its enhancement bonus is too low, this thing would let you (for example) fight with a luckblade as if it were a +5 weapon instead of a measly +2.




    Combat Focus: Starting at 4th level, you can press yourself in combat to achieve great feats that most creatures can’t hope to accomplish. As a swift action, you may grant yourself an enhancement bonus up to half of your fighter level split between your physical ability scores however you see fit. This bonus lasts for 1 round. The maximum size of this bonus can’t exceed +2 at 4th level, +4 at 12th level, and +6 at 20th level.

    Starting at 8th level, you may spend a standard action to use this ability, freeing yourself from a single non-instantaneous effect you have failed a saving throw against (you must be capable of taking mental actions of your own free will to use this ability) of your choice in addition to the normal effects. Furthermore, on any round in which you use combat focus, you may make a full attack as a standard action, as an attack of opportunity, and/or at the end of a charge.

    Starting at 16th level, you free yourself from all relevant effects whenever you spend a standard action to utilize this class feature. Furthermore, in any round in which you use combat focus, you gain either an extra standard action that can only be used to attack or an extra move action that can only be spent to move.

    Notes and Explanation:
    Spoiler
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    When you aren’t spending your swift actions switching around your feats, this is your regular outlet for such actions. The enhancement bonus helps to reduce magic item dependency a bit further and lets you have relevant ability scores in combat so long as you’re willing to focus on them. While this ability might seem a bit “barbarian rage-ish”, periods of extreme focus giving larger benefits in combat seems to be something of a recurring theme in a lot of fighter fixes. Later advancements simply grant you pounce, action economy, and the ability to shake off ongoing conditions (another fighter fix mainstay).


    Final Thoughts/Self-Criticisms:
    I’m pretty happy with how this fix turned out. Even so, a few things I wanted to address:
    1. Some people will say that the fighter is still too dependent on magic items. My goal here wasn’t to remove the “mundane tax” that all noncasters have (all must have some means of flying, for example) ore remove “universal item taxes” (like cloaks of resistance and rings of protection) but to soften the particular “combatant tax” that fighters suffer (repairing MAD through expensive enhancement bonuses, expensive armor and weaponry casters need not deal with).
    2. I’m aware that armsmaster class feature is similar to the idea behind a soulknife. Most fixes to soulknives make the class more than a mere +5 weapon, however, and I consider the normal soulknife to be a pretty poor point of comparison in general.
    3. The biggest and most obvious flaw with this class is that adaptability comes at the price of versatility. Much like with Warblades or other more “automatic” base classes, having more than one of these fighters on the same team is likely to lead to some degree of frustration as pretty much all fighters end up functionally identical even through their versatility over the course of play is pretty considerable.
    4. Needless to say, this class doesn’t currently have a capstone. I couldn’t think of anything appropriate for this class. If you have an idea, feel free to let me know.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2013-03-08 at 06:30 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    Armsmaster: Maybe it's because I just woke up, but I don't see anything in the description that implies adamantine/silver/cold iron/byeshk weaponry.


    I'd also apply the following changes:
    - Terminology-wise, I'd separate surge from Combat Focus.
    - Rename Combat Focus to Adrenaline Rush.
    - Make Adrenaline Rush a free action as part of any action during a fighter's turn.
    - Make full attack as a standard action or at the end of a charge a swift action that doesn't depend on anything else (but not full attack on an AoO - that one seems a bit excessive to me........ at least make it an immediate action (starting at 16th), so that one doesn't exploit Combat Reflexes to make multiple out-of-turn full attacks).

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    nonsi's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    Regarding capstone etc, I'd fold Adrenaline Rush (pardon me for using my terminology, but it's all part of my suggested changes) to 4th level, leaving levels 12 & 20 vacant.
    Now check out my Warrior. If it doesn't have what you need, then at least it has enough to serve as inspiration.
    Sure, this will somewhat break the nicely uniform features progression in the Special column, but I believe you could sacrifice that one a bit on the altar of improved features.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    I really like your fix! :D

    The only things I'd say are missing are twofold: 1) Command / Leadership abilities, and some kind of "Fighter Reputation".

    More than any other class, I feel the Fighter is ideal for the rags to riches build. Consider some of our finest Fighters: Link, who typically goes from unassuming farmhand / son of a smith / train conductor (???) to Hero of All Creation; Conan the Barbarian, who went from child slave to king; Tarquin, a Fighter (I assume) who has all but masterminded the conquest of an entire continent; Roy Greenhilt, who went from... err... level 1 Fighter to somewhere around level 16-18...

    The point being, the Fighter feels to me like it should at least have the potential to be a 'command class'; a Fighter should be able to do more for the party than act as a hitting stick / movable cover.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    While armsmaster doesn't directly overcome damage reduction from materials, what I meant is that it means that you ONLY need a silver weapon and a cold iron weapon instead of a +5 silver weapon and a +5 cold iron weapon (which ends up pretty unreasonable). I could have gone further and had armsmaster eventually overcome all DR but things still seem to working as they are.

    As far as the "adrenaline rush" I definitely see how you got that name but I didn't want the name to sound too rage-y and that name seems to cross the line for me. I personally like the way that the surge keys off of everything and combat focus was made to fight for swift actions with combat mastery on purpose so I'm not particularly into the idea of shaking things up, though that may change if you share the rationale behind the changes.

    As far as the capstone, I will definitely check it out.

    As far as the fighter being a leader, I'm honestly not too sure where that comes from. As far as I can tell, part of the reason comes from it being a convenient mundane design space associated with combat, which makes it a good area to look at in general. For this fighter in particular, though, I feel that combat mastery carries about the in-combat versatility that leadership would (and I rarely see it playing a big part out of combat except as the diplomacy skill. The only other big rationale I see around is that 2e allowed the fighter to have a stronghold and followers at a certain level, ignoring the fact that just about every base class had something of the kind. I see nothing inherently leader-y about the fighter relative to other classes (and I don't see class features to let a barbarian found its own tribe or a thief start a thieves' guild) so I've always been a bit hesitant regarding this type of ability.

    At the end of the day, though, I think that I'll keep this class fairly vanilla as it really is intended for newcomers who enter the game and know nothing about the fighter other than that it presumably fights. If you want to make leadership-y bonus feats, however, that is totally possible. The BoXM2 contains an entire line of those feats and they are done pretty well.
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    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Fighter: Simplistic and Streamlined (PEACH)

    I like the general idea and the elegance of this fix, and Armsmaster and Combat Focus are excellent, but I'm not sure I like that Combat Mastery forces numerical bonuses to compete with bonus feats. Spending all your CM points on feats essentially leaves you with the standard fighter plus greater magic weapon X/day plus a free belt of magnificence plus Iron Heart Surge (not a particularly impressive fix), reserving them all for bonuses leaves you with plenty of the numbers but few options (like a factotum with nothing but inspiration points), and splitting them somewhere in between leaves you lacking in both numbers and options.

    So I'd suggest you do one of the following:

    1) Change Combat Mastery such that instead of spending X points and adding +X to the roll, you instead spend 1 point to add +1/2 level to the roll (or, if you feel that's throwing around too many +8s - +10s per round at high levels, 1 point for +1/4 level and 2 points for +1/2 level). This makes the tradeoff more "fair" (low level feats like Point Blank Shot or Skill Focus are "worth" +1 - +4, high level feats like Combat Supremacy are "worth" +6 - +10, so you get better parity), it gives you noticeable bonuses without spending all of your points on one roll, and it actually makes the math easier for new players (no need to decide how many points would be good to spend on a roll, Power Attack-style, just spend a point for a good static bonus).

    2) Give the fighter 5 fixed bonus feats at levels 1-5-9-13-17 instead of giving out Combat Mastery points at those, but leave the 2-4-6-8-10 point progression at the other levels, and cap the number of extra feats you can gain at 5. This means that if you use all your points for bonuses you always have at least 5 fighter feats, and if you use as many points as you can for feats you always have at least 5 points for bonuses, so you always have both good options and good numbers at your disposal.


    As for a possible capstone, how about "Combat Readiness: At 20th level, you may use your Combat Mastery or Combat Focus abilities as an immediate action, and you may take one extra swift action per turn"?
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