Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fighter (Insane)

You have been to the edge of insanity and now you see the world and understand it in a new and horrifying way. You understand what lies beyond the stars and the secrets that those stars behold and never again can you forget. Reality is now different to you and you are different to reality.

Voices in My Head - Beginning at first level, once per day, you may add your fighter level to any knowledge roll.

Insane Savant - Swift action. Beginning at first level, you see the paths before you and you pick the best. One action action this round does not trigger an attack of opportunity or any other sort of reactive action (even spells, such as traps). This action may be used at will but not in consecutive rounds.

Not Quite There - Beginning at first level, your unpredictability challenges your opponents. Any melee or ranged attack against you has a 20% chance to miss you. Roll after your opponent scores a hit.

Alien Mind - Beginning at third level, your mind is a terrible thing to attack. If you are the target of a mind-affecting spell spell-like ability and you make your save, the caster takes 1d6 damage per fighter level. In addition, if the spell was cast, the caster must make a spellcasting check with an increase in DC equal to your fighter level.

My Life is an Illusion - Beginning at 4th level, you become insensible to extreme environmental conditions. You are not affected by extreme (but normal) heat or cold.

Labyrinthine Soul- Beginning at fifth level, you may add your fighter level to any save against psionics or psionics-like spells and effects.

A Different Path - Beginning at 6th level, you may ignore one prerequisite required by a feat.

Touch of Madness - Once per day, beginning at 7th level, your strike confuses an opponent for one round, as per the spell confusion. Your DC is 10 + Fighter Level. This increases to twice at 13th level and three times at 17th level.

A Shadow of Yourself - Beginning at ninth level, your unpredictability has exceeded all normal bounds. Any melee or ranged attack now has a 50% chance to miss you.

Totally Gone - Beginning at 11th level, all mind-affect spells or effects cease working on you.


All in all, I think that this is an interesting build, but also the least powerful of all the ones that I’ve designed so far. Interestingly, it is also unusually survivable.

This is the kind of character that can get away with the craziest things. He can do all the normal fighter tricks because he’s crazy. Not knowing these feats is not a problem to him.

I think that the character’s abilities really help define the insanity of the character. These are not just crazy things that the character does. These are integral parts of the character’s success. That is to say, the crazy is not just a character wandering about acting randomly.

Even so, I’m not altogether please. It needs work.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fighter (Warlock Pact)

Fighter (Warlock Pact)

In a magical world, you are a fool if you don’t get magic on your side. If warlocks can make pacts with strange beings from beyond, so can you, and you did. With that, you have been rewarded with strange and magnificent powers that aid you in beating the tar out of your enemies.

Replace all Fighter granted feats with the following powers:

Accursed Strike - Beginning at first level, once per round, when you hit an opponent with a melee attack, that opponent becomes cursed. You begin with a Basic Curse. Any opponent can bear only one curse. You do not need to damage the opponent to curse them. For each additional level you take in Fighter, you may choose an additional curse to use:

  • Basic Curse - You must take this curse for your first curse. Opponent makes all rolls at -2, including damage, saves, and attacks. The effect lasts until the end of your next turn.
  • Cursed Strength - Opponent loses all Strength bonuses until the end of your next turn.
  • Cursed Dexterity - Opponent loses all Dexterity bonuses until the end of your next turn.
  • Cursed Wisdom - Opponent loses all Wisdom bonuses until the end of your next turn.
  • Cursed Casting - Any DC generated by opponent reduced by five until the end of your next turn. Any spellcasting check or psionic check is increased by your Strength bonus.
  • Cursed Ability - Choose one attack or ability. Opponent unable to use that until the end of your next turn.
  • Cursed Fortune - Opponent gains a 20% miss rate on any attack. If chosen a second time, opponent misses 50% of all attacks.
  • Karmic Curse - If you lay no curse, your may substitute your Fortitude save for any save against any magical effect. (If you have not yet acted in an encounter, this effect is active.) You choose this curse a second time, you may instead reflect one magical effect per round, targeted against you, back at the originator. You may still affected by the spell. Taken a third time, you reflect any magical effect back upon the caster. You may still be affected by the spell.
  • Temporary Insanity - Target makes its best available attack against an ally.

Beginning at 6th level, you may lay curses on two opponent in the same round. That number increase to three opponents at 11th, and four at 16th. Beginning at 10th level, a single opponent can bear two curses, but not of the same type.

Magical Affinity - Beginning at 2nd level, add your Constitution bonus onto the caster level for any beneficial spell placed upon you (except those cast by yourself). This includes wands and potions that you use to your own benefit.

Inexplicable Affinity - Beginning at 7th level, casters may place spells upon you that are range “self” or “caster only.”

Warped Soul - Beginning at fifth level, may use your Fortitude save against any mind-affecting, psionic, or psionic-like effect.

Curse Immunity - Beginning at 7th level, you are immune to the curses born by magic items.

Design Notes

I think there are cool things to be done with this concept, but I’m not the one doing them. I think that I’ve done a so-so job designing through this idea.

What I wound up doing was designing a debuffer and a shutdown artist. That seemed to align with curses. This results in a fighter that you want right up in front handling the biggest, meanest monsters. His debuffing will greatly increase the party’s chance of success, and the moment that he is not debuffing, the situation gets rapidly worse.

I don’t require saving throws for the curses because fighter must get within the danger zone and hit his opponent. He’s already had to roll. He’s already risking a great deal. Such danger is not required of a spellcaster who can stand back and cast with minimal threat.

This fighter should be a magnificent dragon hunter. In general, this design is highly effective against solo encounters, dragons included. Against multiple opponents, the class is generally less awesome.

This fighter is also the most effective anti-mage design I’ve ever seen, but not by design.

The class slows down around 10th-12th level. It doesn’t gain much after that.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fighter (Changeling)

Fighter (Changeling)

This is an alternate progression for the 3.5 D&D/Pathfinder fighter.

Most people have heard the tale of Tam Lin, how he was taken by the fey, and how he learned the strange ability of transforming himself. He is not the only man taken by the fey.

They fey pact fighter has spent time among the fey, those strange people who live in and around the world. Their minds and souls have been touched by the fey’s power. This pact may only be chosen by a level 1 character beginning as a fighter.

They fey fighter is more appropriate for a very social game where raw fighter ability is less important.

Replace fighter bonus feats with the following abilities:

  • The changeling fighter is proficient in all fey and elven weapons and armor. The fighter gains sylvan as a language.
  • Charming and Frightful (Ex) - Once per day, the changeling fighter may add his fighter level to a check on Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive, or Gather Information.
  • Enchanted Soul (Su) - When under the effect of a mind-affecting spell, the changeling fighter may make one saving throw every round to break its effect.
  • See Fey (Su) - You recognize all fey in any form.
  • Inexplicable Knowledge (Ex) - The warrior has learned many strange things among the fey. Once per day, he may add his fighter level to any knowledge roll.
  • Changeling (Su) - You gain the ability to change your form, as detailed below.

Changeling (Su) - You are a changeling. Your form can change at any time. You do this as a swift action.

  • You may assume the form of any medium or small size humanoid, fey, animal, magical beast or vermin. The HD of that creature may not exceed your fighter level.
  • You gain no (Su) or (Sp) abilities that the creature may have. You do gain its (Ex) abilities. However, you never gain fast healing. The DM may also restrict any (Ex) abilities as makes sense.
  • You gain the use of any feats that the creature may possess.
  • You gain any racial bonuses that the creature may possess.
  • You gain any advantages/disadvantages of being larger or smaller in size.
  • When using your ability to disguise yourself, you gain a +10 on your disguise skill checks.
  • Your movement modes become that of the chosen creature.
  • None of your stats change except as indicated.
  • You retain your armor class, but if you choose an animal shape, lose the use of your shield. Any movement penalties to armor remain.
  • You gain the natural attacks of the creature that you imitate appropriate to its size and hit die. You use the damage dice of the creature, but not any bonus damage. For example, a rhinoceros does 2d6+13 damage. The +13 is due to the creature’s strength, so you would do 2d6+ your strength bonus in damage.
  • You may either use iterative attacks, as granted by your BAB, or you may use multiattack if the creature has multiple attacks. The player may choose whichever method is most favorable.
  • Any magic weapon bonuses that you have apply to one of the creature’s attacks, along with any properties that the weapon may possess. One weapon is associated with one attack. You merely need the weapons on you to gain those bonuses.
  • At 4th level, you may assume the size of a large or tiny creature. You may also assume the form of a giant.
  • At 10th level, you may assume the size of a huge or smaller creature.
  • At 15th level, you may assume the size of a gargantuan creature.

Design Notes

When designing this class, I had every intention of using Shapechange, Polymorph, and other type spells to create the class abilities. That fell apart once I learned how those abilities acted. They worked against the fighter class as much as for it, and required very strange tactics in character design to produce a workable character. Instead, I have attempted yet another form of changing shape, this one tailored to the fighter class.

This design is more powerful than the base fighter class. This is intentional. My goal is to bring the class closer to tier 3, rather than leaving it at tier 5.

Although the design contains many dead level, it actually contains no dead levels at all. Each level opens up new or improved forms that the fighter can use. While a low level fighter can become an orc or a dog, a 20th level fighter can change into a kraken or a roc.

A prominent design goal of this class was to make shape changing easier to implement. For a changeling fighter, a form is a weapon as much as a sword or a bow.

Because all equipment remains functional at all times, the ordinary acquisition of equipment should satisfy the class’s needs. The class does not need spells or magical equipment to function.

The essence of all equipment is never changed. It is only the form of the equipment that changes.

Changing forms is a swift action. In a fight, every round counts. If a fighter must give up his attacks to use an ability, that ability costs too much. I’ve designed other fighter variants, and through playtesting, have learned the value of this maxim. The fighter is already among the weakest of core classes. To give the class more power, only to try to balance that against the already weak base fighter, is to work against yourself. The goal here is to kick the fighter up a tier or two in a way that keeps the fighter feeling like a fighter.

There are abusive choices available. I did a survey of creatures and found that some forms are better choices than others. Restricting a form to is (Ex) abilities goes a long way to minimizing abuses, but some (Ex) abilities are just too good to ignore. If there is an (Ex) which can’t be easily imitated (such as the cold of a Frost Worm or fast healing of a hydra), then that ability should not be gained. I could try to write detailed rules about that, but in the end I can’t cover everything, so I leave that final judgement to the player and the DM.

I have not playtested this design, so buyer beware. The design certainly needs tweaking.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fighter of Supernatural Bargains

It seems as if every spellcasting class can make some sort of supernatural bargain to gain additional power. Given the potential of this tactic, it’s only natural to think that a fighter would be interested in such a bargain as well. After all, you and I may have opinions about fighters and magic, but that fighter lives in a dangerous world filled with magic, and he’d be a fool to ignore advantageous powers.

I think that this is also a greatly overlooked design space. We think of magical classes as the swordmage, who casts spells as he fights, but a gish is just one solution to this problem, and not a solution that interests me.

Would this work better as a template or a prestige class? I don’t think so. I think that a fighter who acquires power via a bargain would acquire powers that a fighter would be specifically interested in.

Should I make another class of it all together? That’s the usual D&D solution to giving the fighter nice things. Split the nice things off and give the nice things to another class. Unfortunately, with the way that the system is set up, this is the most reasonable course of action, which is not my goal. My goal is to give the fighter nice things.

For backward compatibility, a fighter can make a pacts with a supernatural being to gain extra powers. He can use his feats to gain level-appropriate bonuses and powers.

We have two types of obvious pacts that we could design: elemental pacts and warlock-style pacts. Each gives us a different feel.

For elemental pacts, I see some of the following possibilities:

Earth - Hulk out, earth pacts give such abilities as growth, natural armor, electrical resistance, digging, move through stone, improved breaking abilities, magical smithing skills, and the ability to change into an elemental.

Fire - Burn ‘em. Fire pact give fire resistance, scorching ray (from the eyes, of course), flaming weapons and projectiles, damage against grapplers, and a flaming form.

Water - Slosh it up. This pact gives water breathing, create and destroy water, big bonuses to grappling, ice weapons and armor, cold damage, cold DR, and a water form.

Air - Blow me down. This pact gives whirlwind attacks, two-weapon fighting bonuses,  include armor bonus in touch AC, sonic resistance, blinding attacks, smoke and cloud abilities, flying, and an a tornado form.

Taking some inspiration from 4th, we can have more esoteric pacts.

Shadow Pact - You are the stuff of shadows. Shadow walk, invisibility, mirror image, see invisibility, protections from undead, and a shadow form.

Outsider Pact - You are beyond comprehension. Your eyes confuse your enemies, your form drifts in and out of reality, dimension door, displacement, immunity from mind control, and a form beyond comprehension.

Fey Pact - You are strange even as strangers go. Your weapons and armor are innately magical. You have extra protections against magic. Your magic protections include shield, protection from normal missiles, extra protections against poisons, see invisibility, and vampiric weapon. Your strikes lay curses upon your enemies.

Those are the rough ideas. I certainly think that any of this is implementable. The more esoteric pacts have more role-playing potential than the elemental pacts, I think. These choices would certainly change the way that your fighter feels in play.