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View Full Version : The Combat Prodigy (An alternative to the Fighter) [PEACH]



Poppatomus
2010-06-16, 10:12 PM
In a previous fighter related thread, a person noted that a fighter should be a decent melee class that one can dip in. I am still not entirely convinced that's the way to go, but the below reflects my attempt to create a parallel/replacement fighter that goes in that direction. I am combining it with an idea from that original thread as well. The spoilers are copy and pastes from that thread. Thanks to readers for your time.

Please critique and analyze (I could use help with the name of the class to. Not currently in a game, so this is something of a compulsive thought exercise, and i'd like to see what others think.

The class is geared towards playing a fighter in a long term, multi-arc campaign, without sacrificing scalability and flexibility as the fighter does. It is not meant to be an anti-caster, but it is meant to hold up against them better while being more interesting to play than the standard fighter.

The Goal
Beyond the above, the goal of the class is to provide a feat based, semi-gear dependent, non-magical class focused on combat, same as the fighter, but to focus the class on flexibility and allow it to scale within the existing system. The character is meant to reflect someone that is naturally good at fighting, but with no significant outside training, like the fighter is assumed to have. The character remains dependent on magic items and allies to beat magic heavy opponents, but is hopefully more useful in such fights.

Combat Prodigy

Hit Die: d10

Skills: 2d4 + intelligence modifier. Class skills: Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at 1st Level (2 + Int modifier) 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
Armor/weapon proficiencies: A Combat Prodigy is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, medium, and light) and shields (including tower shields).

{table="head"]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|special
1st|+0|+2|+2|+0|Bonus feat, trained feat
2nd|+1|+3|+3|+0|
3rd|+2|+3|+3|+1|bonus feat
4th|+3|+4|+4|+1|Feat Mastery
5th|+3|+4|+4|+1|Bonus feat, trained feat
6th|+4|+5|+5|+2|
7th|+5|+5|+5|+2|Bonus Feat
8th|+6/+1|+6|+6|+2|Muscle Memory, Feat of Strength
9th|+6/+1|+6|+6|+3|Bonus Feat, trained feat
10th|+7/+2|+7|+7|+3|
11th|+8/+3|+7|+7|+3|Bonus Feat, evasion
12th|+9/+4|+8|+8|+4|
13th|+9/+4|+8|+8|+4|Bonus Feat, trained feat
14th|+10/+5|+9|+9|+4|Trained Feat, Worthy Adversary
15th|+11/+6/+1|+9|+9|+5|Bonus Feat
16th|+12/+7/+2|+10|+10|+5|
17th|+12/+7/+2|+10|+10|+5|Bonus Feat, trained feat, Amazing Feat of Strength
18th|+13/+8/+3|+11|+11|+6|
19th|+14/+9/+4|+11|+11|+6|Bonus Feat
20th|+15/+10/+5|+12|+12|+6|Trained Feat
[/table]

Bonus Feats
At 1st level, a Combat Prodigy gets a bonus combat-oriented feat in addition to the feat that any 1st-level character gets and the bonus feat granted to a human character. The Combat Prodigy gains an additional bonus feat at 2nd level and every two Combat Prodigy levels thereafter (4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th). These bonus feats must be drawn from the feats noted as fighter bonus feats. A Combat Prodigy must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including ability score and base attack bonus minimums.

These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. A Combat Prodigy is not limited to the list of fighter bonus feats when choosing these feats.

Trained Feat

At first level, a Combat Prodigy gains the ability to prepare combat oriented feats in a manner similar to a spell caster casts spells. The Combat Prodigy gains an additional trained feat at 1st level and every four Combat Prodigy levels thereafter (5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th). In lieu of a trained feat, when gaining a level a combat prodigy may choose to increase their base attack bonus by +1. This is a permanent bonus and is added to the Combat prodigy's base attack for the purpose of determining the number of attacks made per round.

To gain the benefits of her trained feats, the Combat prodigy must spend a full day engaged in strenuous physical practice and exercise. At the end of the day, the Combat prodigy may take a number of "trained feats" as though they were taking feats upon gaining a level.

These feats must come from the fighter bonus feat list and the combat prodigy must meet all prerequisites as normal.

This training can be done once per 30 days. Each time it is done, a combat prodigy may choose to replace any, all, or none, of her trained feats. In a pinch, a combat prodigy may choose to relearn feats more quickly. To do so they must spend another day in training and succeed at either a strength check, a dexterity check, or fortitude save at DC (10+ number of feats being trained+(30-days since last training)). Failure means the day is wasted, but has no other ill effects. Additionally, a combat prodigy has the option to spend a day in training any time they gain a level that would provide a trained feat, regardless of how long it has been since their last training session.

How it used to work:
Every morning you spend 30 minutes in intensive training in order to gain access to one feat from the fighter bonus feat list for the remainder of the day. You may choose a new feat every day during training, or choose to relearn the same feat as the previous day. To gain the benefits of the feat, you must meet all its prerequisites as normal.

Spending more than 30 minutes training does not give you access to more feats. On days where you are unable to spend time training, you gain no benefit from trained feat.

This feat may be selected more than once. For every time it is selected you are allowed to choose an additional feat during the training period. Regardless of how many feats are being trained, training always takes 30 minutes.

A trained feat can not be used to meet the prerequisite for a normal feat or bonus feat. However, if you have taken trained feat more than once, you may use a trained feat as a prerequisite for another trained feat. (for instance, using trained feat to gain the benefits of improved unarmed strike would allow you to use a second instance of trained feat to gain the benefit of deflect arrows.)

Feat Mastery: At level four, the Combat Prodigy begins to gain a greater bonus from feats than less adept combatants. The Combat prodigy doubles the bonus from feats for any diceroll made either during combat or to avoid a negative effect, such as damage. This does not apply to bonuses from trained feats, and it applies to the cumulative bonus from all applicable feats, rather than doubling each feat individually. At level 10 the multiple change to x3 and at level 16 to x4.

Muscle Memory:
At level 9, the Combat Prodigy gains more flexibility in choosing their trained feats. Rather than training in one set of feats, the character may choose two sets of trained feats and alternate between them. The two sets of feats may have some or no feats in common, at the combat prodigy's discretion. They must choose both sets of feats during their monthly practice.

To switch between sets, the combat prodigy must get a nights rest and then spend at least 30 minutes engaged in practice in the morning. Any condition that would prevent a wizard of the same race as the combat prodigy from memorizing spells also prevents a combat prodigy from switching between sets of feats.


How it used to work:
For a single round you may gain the benefit of any feat gained through trained feat the previous day, even if you did not train in that feat today. You gain the benefits of muscle memory even on days you are unable to train.

Muscle memory can be used 1/per day for every three levels of Combat Prodigy the character has taken. The ability can be activated at the start of any round, or during any round as an immediate action.

Evasion :
At 11th level and higher, a Combat Prodigy can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the Combat Prodigy is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless Combat Prodigy does not gain the benefit of evasion.


Worthy Adversary:
At 14th level the combat prodigy's natural abilities are honed to near perfection, making it much more difficult for a less skilled attacker to threaten her. The combat prodigy may use an opposed attack roll, rather than her AC, to determine if she is hit. She does not need to be aware of the attack to use this ability, but she can not be helpless.

Normally, the combat prodigy may use this ability once per round per opponent. The combat prodigy always uses their highest attack bonus when making this roll, regardless of whether she has attacked or used this ability already that round. When using the full defense action, the combat prodigy is allowed to use this a number of time per round, per opponent equal to the number of attacks she would normally have in a round + 1. However, she takes a -3 penalty on the second use of this ability against a single opponent, a -5 on the third and an additional -5 on each use there after.

Due to the additional time to react, the combat prodigy gains further protection against ranged attackers and spell casters. First, When targeted by a ranged attack or effect the Combat Prodigy may choose to remove all bonuses to attack from any source both to her roll and to the attacker's roll for the purpose of determining if she is hit.

Second, when impacted by a spell with a casting time the combat prodigy gains a bonus equal to one half her level round up to any save made to reduce or avoid the effects of the spell. This includes purely mental affects Unlike other uses of this ability, it must be possible for the combat prodigy to see, hear or otherwise sense the spell being cast in order to prevent it, though they need not be actively paying attention or facing the caster.

How it used to work:
When facing an opponent with a base attack bonus equal to or lower than than the Combat Prodigy's, she may choose to use an opposed attack roll, rather than her AC, to determine if she is hit.

The Combat Prodigy can do this once per round per opponent, and need not be aware of an attack to use this ability, but can not be helpless. The combat prodigy always uses their highest attack bonus when making this roll, regardless of whether she has attacked or used this ability already that round. In addition to normal attacks, the ability applies to any spell or ability that requires an attack roll of any kind in order to hit the Combat Prodigy

Due to the time available to react, a Combat Prodigy gains an additional bonus against a ranged attacker. When targeted by a ranged attack or affect the Combat Prodigy may choose to remove all bonuses to attack from any source both to her roll and to the attackers roll for the purpose of determining if she is hit.

Feat of Strength:
At 8th Level the Combat Prodigy's physical prowess is so great that she is capable of actions that would seem impossible to a normal person. 2 times per day as a free action, the Combat Prodigy may add a Class Level+15 unnamed bonus to any of the following: Fortitude Save, Reflex Save, attack roll, worthy opponent roll, or any other dexterity or strength based check (including skills, but excluding damage rolls). At every five levels there after, the Combat prodigy gains 2 additional uses of this ability per day.

When using feat of strength, the Combat Prodigy may attempt to achieve an effect normally available only to an epic level character, even if they are not yet at epic level. The Combat Prodigy may use this ability up to three times on the same roll, in which case its effects stack.

A Combat Prodigy may choose to forgo the use of a trained feat slot in order to gain an extra two uses of feat of strength for that day. They do not need to train that day in order to gain this benefit.

Amazing Feat of Strength:
At 17th level the combat prodigy may use a feat of strength to gain any of the following benefits, in addition to its normal uses:
-3x movement speed for ten minutes
-Jump to any spot within 100 ft (regardless of movement speed)
-ignore the hardness of an object for the purposes of dealing damage for one round per point of strength bonus
-force a save against death as from massive damage after dealing damage to an opponent
-target and dispel a magical force effect with a successful melee or ranged attack against it unless its caster succeeds on a concentration check equal to 10+damage dealt. In the case of a permanent effect the combat adept must instead succeed on an opposed level check after successfully targeting the effect.
-Make one extra attack at your full attack bonus in a round as an immediate action
-lift 10 times your normal maximum load or push/drag 50 times your normal maximum for one round per point of strength bonus
-grab a flying opponent within 35 ft out of the air and pull them to the ground with a successful grapple check
-force a pinned opponent to make a fortitude save at DC 20+ your strength bonus or die.

Other strength based effects may be possible at the DMs discretion.

Poppatomus
2010-06-21, 06:06 PM
Made some edits to the principle ability as per some other comments on the last thread. Would be interested if someone could figure out a way to simplify the entry for trained feat further.

Dead_Jester
2010-06-21, 08:43 PM
Although this might have been the intend, this class is just a fighter with slightly more feats that can be changed (which he needs to sacrifice to keep up with the fighters Bab) and a few decent ability that give it bigger numbers.

Feat of Strength is nice, and attempts to solve the traditional issues of the fighter archetype (that they can't do anything against anything remotely magical), but comes in way to late, and should be given earlier and scale up to its maximum power level at 18th lvl.

The class should have full Bab, even if this would let it have a total Bab of 25 (which isn't game breaking, even with 12 to 1 power attack ratio, when compared to what even martial initiators get at this level).

Finally, this class should get something unique, something that no other class gets and that defines it, and I honestly believe that this is impossible if all it gets are feats that anyone can take (unless unique or extended feat chains are made only accessible to them).

Poppatomus
2010-06-22, 08:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback. The way you describe it is largely the goal. To me, the base fighter does a good job capturing what a fighter should be. He's the best martial combatant with the greatest potential for versatility. Feats are a great mechanism as well: plenty exist, they provide discrete abilities allowing you to make a character to your specifications and they are different enough from spells to give a class based on them a much different feel than a caster.
The problem, as I see it, is not in the concept, it's in the execution. Neither feats nor fighter abilities scale, and at a certain point the feat mechanism limits options rather than expanding them.

I tend to agree that feat of strength should come earlier, but I am not sure how to scale it. Should I split the special abilities from the bonus to rolls and introduce them at different levels? Would it be better to limit uses per day and have that grow over time? What level would be a good level to introduce that kind of power? (this has gone somewhat beyond thought experiment as I am trying to get my DM to let me play test this class eventually)

I have to disagree that this class gets nothing unique though. Aside from feat of strength, there are three elements that I feel appeal to a player looking for a "unique" experience.

First, trained feats allow you to combine a variety of styles in a way other classes can't. While the Combat Prodigy doesn't, of itself, introduce new feat trees, it allows you to combine multiple feat trees that would otherwise be impossible to get, and to switch between them. It lets you experiment with different approaches to game play as your character progresses, and to play multiple roles, limited by stats rather history.

Second, the Worthy adversary ability introduces gives the Combat prodigy a unique combat niche (or intends to, not sure it succeeds). Even if he doesn't trade in a trained feat, he'll be ahead of any non-martial specialty class he encounters. This makes him much tougher for casters and their kin to deal with, especially if they try to keep him at range.

Third, the combat prodigy gets a greater bonus from the feats they commit to than other classes. While this doesn't provide the same kind of round to round "uniqueness" Barbarian rage or paladin smite does, it does allow this "fighter" to be the best at their style of fighting at every level, not just at first. To paraphrase your statement, the trained feats are feats "anyone can take" but their bonus/regular feats may have the same name, but are much better than the feats available to others.

Again, thanks for the feedback. I will go back to it and see what can be incorporated.

zenanarchist
2010-06-22, 10:33 PM
Thanks for the feedback. The way you

<Snip>

Again, thanks for the feedback. I will go back to it and see what can be incorporated.

I made a fighter that screws with casters. He shuts them down pretty heavily actually, bless him. Void Dragon Knight in sig, it might give you some ideas as to what you can do to take it from Tier 5 to Tier 4/3?

Then again he's dragon themed and I think you're going for a really base class human/large humanoid character.

Which is coolies.

Dead_Jester
2010-06-23, 06:47 AM
I tend to agree that feat of strength should come earlier, but I am not sure how to scale it. Should I split the special abilities from the bonus to rolls and introduce them at different levels? Would it be better to limit uses per day and have that grow over time? What level would be a good level to introduce that kind of power? (this has gone somewhat beyond thought experiment as I am trying to get my DM to let me play test this class eventually)

Second, the Worthy adversary ability introduces gives the Combat prodigy a unique combat niche (or intends to, not sure it succeeds). Even if he doesn't trade in a trained feat, he'll be ahead of any non-martial specialty class he encounters. This makes him much tougher for casters and their kin to deal with, especially if they try to keep him at range.

Maybe give feat of strength at level 9 or 10 (when casters start to be able to destroy anything), maybe making it scale up to full power over the next 8 or 9 levels (reduce the bonus given, maybe give only a few options at the start). You should probably make it as a per-encounter instead of per-day, as it reduces the 10 minute work day syndrome and it is always more fun when you can use your abilities without having to worry about needing them later.

The only problem with Worthy Adversary is that it is a great ability against enemies that attack once, but it is almost useless against multiattackers and doesn't help them against casters (who rarely, if ever, target AC).

I think you should add an ability similar to Iron Heart Surge, maybe usable once per encounter or as a sub-ability of Feat of Strength, that would let them get either a second saving throw, suppress the effects, remove the effects of a spell or condition inflicted upon them and maybe smash through magic barriers (this is to somewhat counteract the fact that normally, melee classes are useless against a smart wizard, who either use SoD's or SoS's, and use spells like forcecage or wall of force to nerf fighters)

Poppatomus
2010-06-30, 06:31 PM
Thanks to Dead and Zen (nifty class Zen, though a bit to magically inclined for my taste in this thread). I split up feat of strength and overhauled worthy adversary, making it stronger, especially against caster. However, I now fear it is too complex. It is supposed to provide a defensive advantage against other melee fighters, while making ranged attacks harder (in order to give an incentive to casters and others at range to close against the combat prodigy) but I am not sure it does that. Does anyone have a better approach or mechanism?

I elected not to incorporate most of the elements of the Iron Heart Surge, as you describe (though I did through in a force effect busting ability at level 17.) Unless I absolutely have to i am trying to avoid giving them abilities that counter magic on it's own terms (by simply avoiding or removing the effect). In my head I just can't square that with a martial class and I think there are other ways to get protection, via items and team mates, that can fill the gap. Open to counter arguments on this point.

Milskidasith
2010-06-30, 06:47 PM
This could work, but it's just a lot of bigger numbers; fighters never had a problem with getting big numbers, they had problems with dealing with situations. The "Feat of Strength" stuff is the most interesting, and if it added more flexibility (ignoring spells, teleporting, mimicking certain spells) it could certainly get to T3 level, but just quadrupling the bonuses from feats and giving them more feats puts them into the annoying niche of "not flexible enough to advance a tier, but too broken at the thing they do to be playable;" quadruple bonus damage from power attack (well, assuming that counts as part of the dice roll) doesn't really make the class any better at hitting wizards, but it does make them too broken to use against other martial enemies.

Some good abilities would be the ability to negate magical concealment, move and attack as an immediate action, prevent five foot steps in threatened range (a-la thicket of blades), etc. as feats of strength, while lowering the (absurd) bonuses you get from feat of strength and giving more daily uses.

EDIT: Other suggestions include giving it full BAB (forcing you to buy up BAB with tactical feats is both bad design because it's a [tactical] feat tax), reworking feat mastery (perhaps letting you gain a feat as an immediate action in response to something? I dunno) because 4x bonuses can get nutty with certain feats, and perhaps letting it have evasion in all armor, since it's not a terribly powerful ability anyway.

Combat Prodigy is also broken, since there's no way to negate it and it essentially turns any spell cast against you into a test of luck, and the save bonus is likewise rather powerful for a class that already gets immediate action +enough to only fail on a one for save; while I'm all for making it powerful against casters, I think giving it flexible offensive options, rather than a "if you don't roll well, you just fail to do anything" is a better idea.