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Thread: Fighter Archetype "Commander"
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- Jul 2015
- San Antonio TX
Fighter Archetype "Commander"
I've spent most of the day trying to draft my first HB. Please criticize! (Reposted from 5e forum)
Commander is a fighter archetype designed to make the fighter really rival the full caster without making the fighter just do more fighter stuff. According to the PHB, “Different fighters choose different approaches to perfecting their fighting prowess. The martial archetype you choose to emulate reflects your approach.” (PHB 72) I created this approach to emulate the abilities of highly successful military leaders from the tactical to the strategic level. My inspiration for these rules is Sun Tzu’s Art of War, primarily the quote, “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” It’s what I hoped Battle Master was, but isn’t.
The archetypal Commander focuses on developing leadership as well as tactical and strategic techniques.
Leadership. When you choose this archetype at third level, you learn combat leadership techniques that are fueled by leader dice that follow the same general rules as the Battle Master’s superiority dice. You start with four dice (d8) and gain additional dice at 7th and
15th level. You learn three techniques at third level, and two additional techniques at 7th, 10th, and 15th level. Unlike Battle Master, not all techniques are available to the Commander at 3rd level, and you can change techniques known each time you earn a level. Unless otherwise specified, the saving DC is 8 + proficiency bonus + Charisma modifier.
Close Order Drill. As a leader of officers or a cohort, you choose the order in which they act. Members of your cohort can move through the space of other members as if it was normal terrain. Ranged weapon attacks by your cohort are not blocked/covered by other members of the cohorts within 15’.
Combat Orders. At 3rd level you gain the ability to read, write, speak, and understand tactical orders and commands of your army. This allows you to lead, command, and share an initiative roll with a number of cohorts equal to five times your level or a number of officers (who lead their own cohorts) equal to your level. You may also understand the combat commands and intent of enemy leaders if you can see them and know the language. Contest your Wisdom (insight) against the enemy leader’s Charisma (deception).
Wargaming. Starting at 3rd Level, when you spend at least one hour with your cohort/officers working out the details of a plan, the results give you the equivalent of an omen, as if you had cast Augury (PHB 215).
Know Your Enemy and Yourself. Starting at 7th level, if you spend at least 1 minute observing or interacting with another creature outside combat, you learn critical information about its capabilities. The DM tells you the resistances, immunities, and/or vulnerabilities of the creature, the non-magical damage type(s) it does, and its movement speed and modes.
Stratagem. Once per long rest, starting at 10th level, you can use a stratagem to create a significant advantage over a group of enemies. The first attack made by every ally under your command on the enemy is at advantage.
Enemy Unprepared. Starting at 15th level, you know how to time an attack to avoid the largest part of a group of creatures. Once per long rest, you can invoke this ability before a combat begins to gain surprise and remove 15% of a group of enemies that is under the control of a “boss.” The removed enemies earn experience only if the whole group is defeated. This percentage increases by 2% per level above 15th up to a maximum of 25%.
Supreme Art. At 18th level, you know how to subdue your enemy without fighting. Your presence in command of a military force frightens enemies. All enemy leaders who know your reputation and are aware of your presence on the battlefield must make a Wisdom save. The DC is 8 + your Wisdom modifier. On a failed save, the leader is frightened. Each target can repeat the saving roll at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. Being frightened by you should be treated as a ‘circumstance’ that may cause your enemy to flee or surrender as described in the optional morale rule (DMG p.273).
Leader Techniques for Subalterns (3rd) and Lieutenants(4th)
1. Lead by Example. (3rd) Roll one leader die before attempting a strength or dexterity check. Add half to your leader die roll to your ability check roll. Cohorts who see you and attempt the same act on their current or their next turn can use your unmodified die roll as their own.
2. Vicious Taunt. (3rd) Your taunting is as strong as Vicious Mockery (PHB 285) but without the psychic damage. You taunt one creature for each of your levels as an action. The targets must be within 60’ and be able to hear and understand you. The Wisdom DC is your leader die roll + your Wisdom (intimidation) score. The taunted are disadvantaged on the first attack roll they make in their current or next turn.
3. Brash Challenge. (3rd) As a bonus action, you challenge the leader of an opposing force to single combat as if you had cast Compelled Duel. The opposing leader must be able to understand you. The leader makes a Wisdom save or is compelled to fight you per PHB 224. Your leader die roll plus your Charisma (intimidation) modifier is the duration of the effect in turns. No concentration is required. You do not have to know who the leader is to issue the challenge, and the DM does not reveal the location of the leader to you if you do not already know who they.
4. Break the Will. (3rd) After you hit a creature with a non-ranged weapon attack, you can expend one leader die to attempt to frighten the target. The DC of the Wisdom save is the die roll + your Charisma (intimidation) modifier. On a failed save, it is frightened by you until the end of your next turn.
5. Commander's Strike. (3rd) When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you and expend one leader die. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack, adding the superiority die to the attack's damage roll.
6. Configure. (4th) Expend a leader die and produce one of two effects described in Unearthed Arcana (March 2015) “When Armies Clash.” ©2015 Wizards of the Coast LLC
a. Aid. As an action, give a momentary advantage to your cohort’s attacks. Forgo your attack. Your level plus your die roll is the number of cohorts that gain advantage on the first attack they make that turn.
b. Defend. As an action, give +2 to AC to members of your cohort. Forgo your attack. Your level plus your die roll is the number of cohorts that gain advantage.
7. Exploited Weakness. (4th) As a bonus action on any turn you score a critical hit on a foe, you expend a leader die and communicate how you did it to a number of allies equal to your roll plus your Charisma modifier who are within 30’. You and they score critical hits on a roll of 19 or 20 against foes of the same type until the battle ends. You can use this ability only once per type of foe in the battle.
8. Decisive Moment. (4th) You recognize the decisive moment for your side to act when in arrives. You may roll one leader die after initiative order is determined by the DM, add the result of your roll your initiative and that of your cohorts, and recalculate the initiative order. This counts as your reaction for your turn.
Leader Techniques for Captains (5th) and (6th)
1. Take Command. (5th) On your turn, you can use an action and expend one leader die to restore or redirect the resolve of all allies within 30’ for up to one minute with concentration. The effect of this technique is similar to the spell Calm Emotions (PHB 221). Each ally within 30’ for you must make a Charisma saving throw; allies can choose to fail this saving throw if they wish. If an ally fails its saving throw, choose one of the following two effects. You can suppress any effect causing the ally to be charmed or frightened. When this technique ends, any suppressed effects resume, provided that the durations have not expired in the meantime. Alternatively, you can make an ally indifferent about creatures of your choice that it is hostile toward. This indifference ends if the target or any allies it can see is attacked or harmed.
2. Give a Medal. (5th) As an action you can expend a leader die and cast Heroism (PHB 250) on one willing creature. They are immune to being frightened and gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma (persuasion) or Wisdom (insight) modifier at the start of each of their turns. The technique effect lasts for up to one minute with concentration. All temporary hit points are lost when the technique ends.
3. Irresistible Charge. (5th) You execute a perfectly synchronized charge by your cohort towards the enemy. You can take no other actions, bonus actions, or interactions while charging/dashing. Your leader die roll plus your Charisma (persuasion) modifier is the duration of the effect in turns. You and your cohorts’ speed increases 10’ for the duration. Your charge creates Fear (PHB 239) in a 30’ cone coming from you. The DC for this roll is your leader die roll + your Charisma (intimidation) modifier, and each target can repeat the saving roll at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success or one full turn after the charge ends.
4. Combat Guidance. (6th) Expend a leader die and utter encouraging words, guidance, and warnings to members of your cohorts within 30’. Add a d4 to all attack rolls or saving throws made by your cohort for a number of turns equal to your leader die roll plus your Charisma (persuasion) modifier. (MM 347, 186)
5. To Hell and Back. (6th) Your leadership inspires hope under all circumstances as if you cast Beacon of Hope (PHB 217). The leader die roll plus your Charisma (persuasion) modifier is the duration of the effect in turns. All allies within 30’ have advantage on Wisdom and Death saves, and gain the maximum hit points possible from any healing.
6. Cry Havoc. (6th) Incite a one turn rampage by members of your cohort. Your leader die roll + your Charisma (persuasion) modifier is the number of cohorts who, as a bonus action, can move up to half its speed and make a second attack on their current or next turn.
Leader Techniques for Majors (7th)
1. Advanced Wargaming. (7th) When you spend at least one hour with your cohort/officers working out the details of a plan, you are able to learn the answer to one question as if you had cast Divination (PHB 234). Expend a leader die at the end of the hour.
2. Essayons. (7th) You use your engineering assets carefully to obtain Freedom of Movement. (PHB 244) Allies who start and remain within 60’ of you also have Freedom of Movement. Roll your leader die and add your Wisdom modifier. The result is the number of turns the leader effect lasts. The effect does not duplicate the spells’ effect for under water movement or attacks.
3. War Face/Rebel Yell. (7th) Your appearance and battle cry in combat is truly horrifying to those who can see your face. Expend a leader die. Each creature of your race within 60’ of you who can see you at the start of your turn (friend and foe) must succeed on a Wisdom saving roll or be frightened for a number of turns equal to your leader die roll as long as they can see your face. The DC for this roll is your leader die roll + your Charisma (intimidation) modifier, and each target can repeat the saving roll at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Leader Techniques for Colonels (10th)
1. Warfare Based on Deception. (10th) You deceive your enemy by disguising your allies appearance as if you cast Seeming. (PHB 274) Expend a leader die. The roll plus your Charisma (deception) modifier is the duration of the effect in hours.
2. Attack Where Unprepared. (10th) You identify a way to approach your enemy undetected and attack them with the advantage of surprise. When you, your command, and your allies start a turn undetected by your foes, you can move together without chance of detection by non-magical means. Magical means of detection are at disadvantage. You have a full turn of surprise on any turn when you and/or your allies make an attack. The effect ends with the turn in which that attack was made. Your leader die roll plus your Charisma (deception) modifier is the duration of the effect in hours.
Leader Techniques for Generals (15th) and Marshals (17th)
1. Win Without Fighting. (15th) Your skill in planning makes battles unnecessary because you have become an object of Antipathy (PHB 214) to your enemies. An enemy intelligent creature of a kind you designate feels an intense urge to leave your presence and the area where you are. All enemy creatures of that type that come within 60’ of you must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened. Expend a leader die. The roll plus your Charisma (persuasion) modifier is the duration of the effect in hours.
2. Preparation Meets Opportunity. (17th) Your experience in countless battles gives you insight into the probable actions and reactions of your foes to such a high degree that it is as if you cast Foresight (PHB 244) on yourself. When you wish to tap into this well of experience, expend a leader die. The roll plus your Wisdom (insight) modifier is the duration of the technique in minutes. You can’t be surprised, and have advantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Opponents are disadvantaged on their attack rolls against you.
Last edited by Kurt Kurageous; 2015-12-21 at 09:08 PM.
- Join Date
- Oct 2013
Re: Fighter Archetype "Commander"
I could see this being a great archetype for a war-leader/ high cohort campaign IF, and a very big if at that, the DM is willing to go with it.
You should probably reword "Once per day" to "finish a long rest"
This percentage increases by 2% per level (past 15) up to a maximum of 25% <--- would help with clarificationYou surrender after you're dead. Lan Mandragoran
- Join Date
- Jul 2015
- San Antonio TX
Re: Fighter Archetype "Commander"
The archetype may end up just being a NPC. It would be, as you anticipate, an army builder who is always recruiting followers into their private army. I was trying to get at the imbalance between full casters and the most mundane fighter, and I thought the capstone and "strip the minions away by ability" would get at the heart of the matter.