Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fighter Training V. 2

Note: Edited Berserker and added new training option per feedback from Mindy and 2eDM.

As I am fond of saying: "In a world where some dudes can shoot lightning out of their fingertips, there must exist some incentive to play another type of dude."

So, here are some fighter training options. The idea is mostly ripped off from Akrasia and his awesome OD&D house rules, but I have tweaked them a little bit.

Here's how it works: Fighters get to pick a training at 1st level. They get another one at 4th, 8th, and 12th. Each training has an advanced version that fighters can take when they get to pick a new training.

If your flavor of D&D goes to very high levels, like the Cyclopedia's 36th level, feel free to toss the fighters some extra selections, or extrapolate a "Super Advanced" third tier of each training or whatever.

Edit: I totally forgot to mention that you must pick the training a second time to get the "advanced" benefit. Yes, this means that a fighter must be a minimum of 4th level to have advanced training; he'd have to pick Training X at 1st and then again at 4th. Further selections of the same training aren't possible, with the exception of Weapon Master and Slayer, because they can be applied to different weapons/monsters every time.

So, here they be:

1. Berserker- The character can go berserk in combat. While berserk, the character has +2 to hit and damage and a +2 to save against any mind-affecting spell or power. However, the character has a +2 penalty to AC, can only use melee weapons, and cannot retreat. The berserk state ends once combat is over, though the character can try to snap out of it once per round with a successful save vs. spells. After the berserk state has passed, the character has a -2 penalty to all die rolls for one hour. At the GM's option, certain spells might knock a character out of the berserk state.
*Advanced: The character receives 2d6 bonus hit points when berserk. Damage is subtracted from these "extra" hit points. Any remaining extra hit points vanish when the berserk state ends.

2. Soldier- The character receives an additional -1 AC bonus from using a shield. If the character chooses to forgo attacking this round, he gains an additional -1 AC.
*Advanced: The character can now "loan" any or all of his shield bonus to allies who are within a few feet. (Allies fighting shoulder to shoulder, a character hiding behind the fighter, etc.) Any bonus loaned to another character doesn't benefit the soldier's own AC. In addition, if foregoing movement and attack, the character can deflect any incoming missile attacks with a successful saving throw vs. wands.

3. Swashbuckler- The character receives an additional -2 AC when wearing leather armor or no armor, isn't using a shield, and isn't wielding a large/heavy/two-handed weapon. The character also has the ability to fight two-handed provided the off-hand weapon is small/light. If any character in your game can fight with two weapons, the swashbuckling fighter gains an additional +1 to hit when doing so.
Advanced: The character can disarm an opponent who wields a weapon of equal or smaller size by making an attack roll at -2. The victim must save vs. paralyzation of the weapon is knocked 1d6 feet away in a random direction.

4. Warrior Monk- The character can do 1d6 with his bare hands, and can choose to have the damage be normal (lethal) damage instead of temporary/subdual damage. Warrior-Monks receive +2 hit points per hit die, but cannot wear armor.
*Advanced- The character can now inflict 1d8 with barehanded attacks. Once per day, the character can heal 2d6 hit point to himself only by entering a meditative state for one turn.

5. Weapon Master- The character must choose a specific weapon, such as the longsword, crossbow, etc. The character gains +1 to hit and damage with said weapon. This training can be taken more than once for different weapons.
*Advanced- The character's bonus with one chosen weapon increases to +2 hit and damage. The advanced training can be taken more than once, but must be applied to a different weapon, and the character must have taken the basic training for that weapon.

6. Cavalier- The character can train a horse for combat so that it will not panic. This takes one week per horse. If the cavalier rides the horse, it will not panic. If the cavalier doesn't ride it,the horse has +2 to checks made to determine if it panics. The cavalier also gains an additional +1 to hit in mounted combat, and can save vs. paralyzation to avoid damage from falling out of the saddle.
*Advanced- The cavalier can spend a week bonding with a specific horse. This horse gains a Hit Die immediately, and also one every time the cavalier gains a level. The mount will accept no rider or master besides the cavalier. If the beast is ever killed, the cavalier must train a new one from scratch, but may not do so until a month has passed.

7. Slayer- The fighter gains a bonus of +1 to hit and damage against a specific monster type. How specific is up to the DM... dragons, or black dragons? All giants, or just one class? Monsters of this type have a -2 reaction penalty to the character if the DM deems that he is obviously a slayer of their kind, or if word of his deeds and reputation might have reached this area.
*Advanced- The bonus is now +2 to hit and damage. The character's reputation is likely to have spread. Alternately, the character can choose to gain the basic level against a new foe, but generally only if he now has reason to hate them and has faced them many times in battle.

8. Marksman- When firing into melee, the character may roll twice to determine who the target of the shot is, and select which target he prefers.
*Advanced- The character can make a crippling/distracting/pinning shot. Such a shot is at -2 to hit and can be the only shot fired this round. The opponent takes damage as normal but must also save vs. paralyzation or lose its next combat round. At the DM's option, a weapon that cannot harm the creature might not be subject to this attack.

9. Veteran- The fighter has +2 to all saving throws vs. paralyzation, poison, or death, and can roll hit points twice at each level, taking the better result.
*Advanced- Once per session, the fighter can make a save vs. death to survive, deflect, or escape an attack that would have killed him. The attack is totally negated. It is the DM's option whether or not this works for spells and hazards, or just physical attacks.

Okay, there you have them. Most of them are rough drafts and need some work. My questions to you are:

1. Are there any that are too powerful?
2. Are any of them totally underpowered?
3. Are there any that you would never take for any reason and why?

Feedback is still appreciated. I am also on the fence about what to do for the race-classes of some old D&D. I'm thinking up something on the matter now.


  1. I'd actually add one more type: The Veteran/Survivor. This guy would be tough as nails, perhaps getting bonuses to savings throws or maybe a 50/50 chance that a fatal blow would instead do less damage.

  2. Hmm....let me ruminate on that and see what I can come up with. I have a few conflicting ideas.

  3. I like the list. None seem too powerful, I would probably pick Swashbuckler to play. I like the 2 handed combat. My least favorite would be Berserker; use only once per session and no retreat would be too limiting for me.

  4. Maybe I should remove that caveat... I mean, at first I didn't want the berserker to go berserk in every combat, but the exhaustion and the no retreating business probably serve as enough of a balancing factor...

  5. The one thing I don't like about this is that you might end up mixing too many archetypes after a few levels (e.g. the berserker marksman cavalier fighter).

    Another suggestion: maybe present it as a table to roll on, to prevent information overload?

    I also had some ideas for making fighters interesting.

  6. Good point, Brendan. Perhaps I should limit the fighter to two trainings, so that the most you could have would be two different packages at the advanced level.

    I like your idea regarding class based damage and combining it with the way two handed damage used to work.