Friday, February 15, 2013

Fighters and Resilience

Lately I’ve been toying with an idea for 3.x Fighters called resilience. Resilience is what keeps a fighter going beyond all odds. It combines his ability to withstand physical punishment as well as his ability to withstand adverse magical effects.

Rather than plop down the design idea, I decided to walk through the design iterations, showing how I arrived at my current idea of resilience.

Attempt #1:  You can recover hit points. As a free action, you can heal 1d6+Con Bonus hit points per resilience point. Using resilience points is a free action, but the ability can only be used once per round.

Problem #1: You get a huge HP well and it doesn’t scale for level.

Attempt #2: You get 1 hp per resilience point.

Problem #2: You get far too few HP, and it doesn’t scale for level.

Attempt #3: Let’s use math. A fighter begins with 12-14 hp and gains about 8 hp per level. If he heals a quarter of his hit points per use of resilience, then an appropriate equation could be (Con Bonus + level) x2. That keeps us in the ballpark as the fighter advances in level.

“A fighter gets resilience points equal to his hit points gained as a fighter. As a swift action, he may use these resilience points to replace his own hit points, up to (Con Bonus + level) x2 in any round.”

As for spells, let’s assume that a fighter avoids four spells or magical effects between rests. At 5th level, that would be 20 points of resilience. That’s about half his expected resilience for that level. Nice! That’s useful.

“The fighter may also delay the effect of a spell or other magical effect by spending resilience equal to the opponent’s caster level. This cost must be paid each round that the spell is active. Additionally, using resilience points equal an opponent’s caster level, the fighter may immediately make an additional saving throw against that spell’s effect using his Fortitude saving throw.”

This scales right.  I like this solution. It feels like a fighter, gives the fighter something to manage, and there will always be the tension between a hit point reserve and avoiding some magical effect.

Problem #3: The number of resilience gained should be adjusted up or down for finer balancing. Aside from introducing another number to track, I don’t see a downside to this power.

What about prestige classes? No prestige class grants resilience.

“In general, any prestige class that grants d8, d10, or d12 hit points also grants resilience points, although prestige classes which grant caster levels never grant resilience points.”

Problem #4: Rationale: There’s no reason a fighter should be able to do these things.

Solution #4: Fluff!

“Fighters live in a magical world. Although they themselves do not cast spells, they do know that they will face magic, and so learn ways to protect themselves, whether it be through lucky charms, always sharpening their knives in the right direction, or sacrificing to the right gods. These they develop techniques from folklore and superstition reinforced with trial and error.”