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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Martial Archetype: Warrior



Sicarius Victis
2016-10-10, 11:17 AM
In my opinion, one of the bigger problems in 5e is the lack of round-to-round options for martials. Sure, they might have Ki, or Superiority dice, depending on what they chose. But using a limited resource like one of those still doesn't add much for them, it really just lets them occasionally do a bit better than they were doing before. So I've decided to try to make a new fighter subclass, based off of dynamicism and round-to-round resource management as opposed to encounter-to-encounter.

At the moment, though, the subclass is just a concept. I need more work and more ideas to turn it into a real thing.

This Martial Archetype will revolve around the use of prowess points, which are accumulated through different ways in combat. The fighter learns a series of battle stances starting when they get this archetype. each stance can be entered as a bonus action. The character can only have prowess points while in a stance, and each stance gives them a different method of accumulating and spending them. At the beginning of their turn, they lose all of their prowess points accumulated last round, unless they succeed on a skill check. Each stance will require a different skill to be used this way.

At the moment, I have 3 stances thought of, but I'm trying to come up with more.

Duelist's Stance: Accumulate prowess points through giving up attacks, expend them to add bonuses to attempted attacks and to attempt to parry enemy attacks. All skill-based effects use Insight skill.

Dervish Stance: Accumulate prowess points through making successful attacks (possibly by choosing to give up a portion of the damage), expend them to make additional (weaker) attacks and move around (no OAs and doesn't have to be on their turn). All skill-based effects use Acrobatics skill.

Ravager's Stance: Accumulate prowess points by allowing enemies to attempt OAs, spend them to do additional damage on hits and trip/shove opponents that get hit. All skill-based effects use Intimidate skill.

The character will also learn additional uses for their points at higher levels. For example, at 7th level each stance will get a defensive ability that prowess points can be spent for.

Duelist will gain something similar to Stillness of Mind.
Dervish will gain Evasion.
Ravager will have a method to gain temp hp.

So right now, this is just a concept. I've posted this here because I'm hoping that some people might have their own input on it, and their own suggestions on what it should do.

PapaQuackers
2016-10-10, 11:44 AM
I would just like to let you know that fighter archetypes generally follow the pattern of having 7th level be reserved for fluff and flavor, so it would be extremely stronger than other archtypes if you ignore that pattern.

I've also wrestled with the idea of making martials think a bit harder about what actions they're going to take. My solution was this:

http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/Sybc66-OC

I also used to a point based system and a criticism that arose quite frequently is that people no longer wish to keep track of accumulating and disappearing bonuses/resources.

They're fine with Ki because you have a set number for the day, same with superiority dice, but if you have a system in which you're constantly accruing and losing points that impact how the class functions you will meet resistance.

You will also have to deal with the fact that giving one archetype three different fighting styles will automatically make it more versatile than the other 3 archetypes.

The Champion's game play is quite linear but design so you have to make sure your archetype doesn't outshine what the champion gains from a math standpoint.

The Battle Master is very versatile but his resources are finite and he has a difficult time dealing with multiple enemies in comparison to the Champion

The Eldritch Knight fulfills the fantasy of integrating magic and combat but is limited in what schools it can use and arguably has less access to interesting options each round when compared to the Battle Master.

Make absolutely sure you keep all of them in mind when constructing this archetype and good luck!

Sicarius Victis
2016-10-10, 12:42 PM
It's intended to be a bit more versatile than the rest of them, at the cost of its different options being a bit weaker than whst the rest get, theoretically being no more poweful altogether than what you would have gotten if you'd just stuck with standard attacking.

Honestly, I'm planning on making a class using this concept, once I have a bit more experience at homebrew. I feel like these things shouldn't be limited to just one specific subclass of one specific class.

The intent of this subclass is basically just dynamicism. A pure martial character shouldn't be limited to doing almost the exact same things each round. They should have options, have a variety of different styles that they can use.

The big benefit of a fighter as opposed to a different class is having constant, reliable combat capability. The Champion subclass emphasizes that concept, but does so in an uninteresting fashion. This subclass is supposed to do about the same thing, but in a more exciting way. Rather than just hitting even harder, it gives them choices about how they want to hit their opponents.

When I'm more experienced at homebrewing, I'll make a class based around this concept. Until then, I'd prefer to keep it as a subclass. And Fighter is ideal for that, just considering what it is.

Not sure about the ribbon at 7th-level though. Champion's is just a ribbon, Battlemaster's is a ribbon with decent capability to be useful for combat encounters, as well as extra dice and maneuvers, and Eldritch Knight's is a combat ability. Eldritch Knight's isn't always the best option, but it can give them some really good combat options in some situations.

Another option would be to have a bigger list of stances, all with different effects, and let the Warrior learn a few of them at a time. Decreases the versatility and brings that a bit more in line than the rest, but the general effectiveness of the stances would have to be increased a bit to make up for them losing their main advantage.

I have seen the Sorrow's Vassal, and I found it quite interesting. It's just not quite what I'm trying to do with this.

PapaQuackers
2016-10-10, 01:25 PM
The 7th level of the Eldritch Knight isn't a ribbon because the 3rd level abilities are less powerful than those granted at 3rd level to the Champion and Battle master.

I concur with the idea of modeling it more after the battle master in regards to stances, just make sure you don't outshine the battle master if you're doing something similar. Make it unique but equal.

So avoid a lot of

Stancy Stance:
While in this stance you may make a bonus action to do insert thing here". When in this stance you gain a warrior point for doing insert same thing here. These points can be used to do even more powerful version of thing as a standard action.

This looks appealing because it enforces the concept you want and then rewards for you performing that concept. There's a big problem though, you've not actually changed anything the fighter is doing, he's not making a trade off to make that bonus action most of the time because most of the time he's not going to be doing anything with that bonus action anyway.

All you've done is added to his action economy without actually effecting his normal game play style. There's no give and take, just give.

Then you might be thinking but how about this?

Improved Stancy Stance:
When in this stance as an Action you may do insert thing here if you do you will gain one warrior point. You may use up to number of warrior points to do insert improved version of insert thing here as a bonus action.

This is better because you're forcing them to give up their attack, which is quite limiting when they gain the extra attack feature, in order to do a different thing which will eventually accumulate into them doing that same thing as a bonus action while still being able to attack.

Now the problem that arises here is Action Surge and scaling abilities. If you make this ability flat it will be useful early on and garbage later, no one will ever do it instead of making three attacks, but if you make it scaling you run the risk of Action Surges completely invalidating the cost of using the ability. In that case you gain a powerful attack, still get to make a regular attack, and then possibly use that same ability as a bonus action in the same round.

Action Surge and Extra Attack are what make balancing the fighter very difficult.

I'm not trying to dissuade you, I just want to help you make this as functional as possible using my own experiences and criticisms in homebrewing.

Calen
2016-10-10, 04:13 PM
Some thoughts and/or ideas.

Making the points disappear at the start of your turn would alleviate the issue of resource tracking. You could still have a single use for points as a reaction, but since you only have 1 reaction (typically) it becomes a binary question (Did I have points left at the end of my turn?)

Having the player choose from a pool of stances (and gaining more each time you get an archetype feature) would help with the learning curve. Probably 2 to start and +1 for each feature point (Total of 6 at level 18) is what I would do.

Tying the acquisition of points to the sacrifice of your actions or the success of your normal actions would work better than using bonus actions.

for example

Duelist's Stance - Your movement is calm and controlled as your fighting. On your turn you may sacrifice movement. For every 10 feet of movement that you give up you gain one Prowess Point. (A cap on Prowess Points would be a good idea here.)
Sure Strike - You may spend a Prowess Point to increase the Attack roll of your next attack by 1.
Precise Parry - You may spend a Prowess Point to increase your AC by 1 until the start of your next turn.

Dervish Stance - You move and attack with the wild ferocity of the tornado. You must be wielding 2 light weapons to enter and maintain this stance. When you hit with an attack made as part of your Attack action you gain 1 Prowess Point.
Daring Dance - You may spend 2 Prowess Points to take the Disengage Action.
Blurring Blades - You may spend 1 Prowess Point to make a free attack with your offhand weapon.

Defenders Stance - Your allies always find cover behind you. For every attack made while adjacent to at least 1 ally you gain a Prowess Point.
Slowing Slash - Spend 1 Prowess Point to decrease the speed of an enemy that you hit this turn by 10 feet. Lasts until the end of the creature's next turn.
Guarded Group - Spend 2 Prowess Points to Increase the AC of every ally within 10 feet of you by 1 until the start of your next turn.

Sicarius Victis
2016-10-10, 04:45 PM
The accumulation of "prowess points" or whatever I eventually decide to call them is intended to be purely a tradeoff, and functions in different ways depending on the stance. The method of accumulating points will ALWAYS make you weaker than you would have if you hadn't chosen to get the points, but the points will then allow you to be more effective afterwards. The methods are also inspired by the flavour of the stance as well.

Duelist's Stance gains a point by choosing to give up an attack. More than one attack can be given up at a time, so a 20th-level fighter taking the Attack action can give up 3 attacks and make 1 that action, gaining 3 points. Those points can then be spent later to parry enemy attacks and to gain to-hit and damage bonuses when they do attempt to make an attack. This represents fighting defensively and waiting for an opening as opposed to just attacking normally.

Dervish Stance gains a point by choosing to deal less damage on a successful attack. Again, you can do this whenever you want as long as you're willing to pay the cost. The points can then be spent to make additional attacks, again for decreased damage, and gain some sort of mobility. This represents using attacks more to set yourself up for what you'll do next, rather than just using attacks to do damage.

Ravager's Stance will likely gain points by allowing enemies advantage or extra damage on attacks against the character. The points can then be spent to do extra damage on attacks, as well as allowing shoves, disarms, and similar effects on successful attacks. This represents something similar to the Barbarian's Reckless Attack.

A character using these abilities is not intended to be any more effective altogether than a standard fighter, just a bit more versatile.

Another option that I'm considering is making the warrior know a few of a set of stances, and making them have to learn specific maneuvers available from those stances. For example, someone might know the Duelist's Stance, but they'd have to specifically learn "Parry" from a list of maneuvers available with that stance. This is the option I'm most leaning towards, right now. That would solve most of the difficulties this subclass has so far, I think.

Though if I did that, I'd have to come up with more maneuvers and more stances.

How does all of this sound?

Edit: I wrote this before I saw the latest comment on the thread. I'll try to have a response for that one quickly.

Response to the latest comment: The way you described it basically sounded like what I'm planning to do with it. Your examples were also fun possibilities, but they're on a slightly smaller scale than what I'm attempting. Your examples were smaller-cost, smaller-reward, which definitely can be useful, but this subclass I'm seeing as a highef-cost, higher-reward.

Calen
2016-10-10, 06:52 PM
Response to the latest comment: The way you described it basically sounded like what I'm planning to do with it. Your examples were also fun possibilities, but they're on a slightly smaller scale than what I'm attempting. Your examples were smaller-cost, smaller-reward, which definitely can be useful, but this subclass I'm seeing as a higher-cost, higher-reward.

You could do both as well,

Duelist's Stance - Your movement is calm and controlled as your fighting.
Minute Movement - On your turn you may sacrifice movement. For every 10 feet of movement that you give up you gain one Prowess Point.
Awaiting Action - On your turn you may sacrifice attacks. For every attack that you sacrifice from your Attack Action you gain 3 Prowess Points.

Sure Strike - You may spend a Prowess Point to increase the Attack roll of your next attack by 1.
Precise Parry - You may spend a Prowess Point to increase your AC by 1 until the start of your next turn.
Ruthless Riposte - You may spend 4 Prowess Points to gain an extra Reaction this round.
etc.

Cons - More points to track each turn
Pros - More versatility and play-style choices

Edit: Responding to something else.


Another option that I'm considering is making the warrior know a few of a set of stances, and making them have to learn specific maneuvers available from those stances. For example, someone might know the Duelist's Stance, but they'd have to specifically learn "Parry" from a list of maneuvers available with that stance. This is the option I'm most leaning towards, right now. That would solve most of the difficulties this subclass has so far, I think.

Though if I did that, I'd have to come up with more maneuvers and more stances.

How does all of this sound?

Depending on the # of stances you are thinking of and the # of maneuvers per stance this could be quite bloated. At least initially in the design process I would recommend that you aim for a small number of maneuvers known for each stance.

Looking forward to see where this goes.

Sicarius Victis
2016-10-10, 08:05 PM
I'm intending for probably 4-6 stances, they'd start out knowing one or two and learn more later. Probaby 4-6 maneuvers per stance as well, and they'd know a number of maneuvers similar to how many a Battlemaster knows. Feels like a decent amount in general.

Might also allow them to spend "maneuvers known" on maneuvers they already have to get slightly more powerful version. Trade a bit of the versatility they get for a bit of the specific skill they give up. Not enough to make them as good at that specifically as someone from one of the other Archetypes, but enough to make specialization a halfway decent strategy for them.

Also, this isn't related to the Archetype specifically, just an idea Fighters in general, but how does the idea of letting a Fighter choose to take a level of exhaustion to get an additional Actions Surge or something like that sound?

Calen
2016-10-11, 02:54 PM
I'm intending for probably 4-6 stances, they'd start out knowing one or two and learn more later. Probably 4-6 maneuvers per stance as well, and they'd know a number of maneuvers similar to how many a Battlemaster knows. Feels like a decent amount in general.

Battlemasters learn a total of 9 maneuvers. If you mean a total known of that amount that is pretty sparse for each stance. Also you don't specify if the "point gain skills" count as maneuvers.

So lets say that point gain and point spend are each maneuvers. Knowing 3-4 at the start and learning up to 6-8 per stance seems reasonable.



Might also allow them to spend "maneuvers known" on maneuvers they already have to get slightly more powerful version. Trade a bit of the versatility they get for a bit of the specific skill they give up. Not enough to make them as good at that specifically as someone from one of the other Archetypes, but enough to make specialization a halfway decent strategy for them. Makes sense in theory. The balance of having another stronger version of each maneuver, especially given your high risk/high reward philosophy might be hard to balance for.



Also, this isn't related to the Archetype specifically, just an idea Fighters in general, but how does the idea of letting a Fighter choose to take a level of exhaustion to get an additional Actions Surge or something like that sound?

Berserker Barbarian's can Frenzy, getting a attack as a bonus action every round for the duration of a rage, at the cost of a level of exhaustion. IIRC this is considered a weak feature.
Maybe if it restored all uses of Second Wind, Indomitable and Action Surge at the cost of a level of exhaustion. Must finish long rest and not be exhausted to use this feature again.

GalacticAxekick
2016-10-13, 06:25 AM
I definitely agree that Fighters need more round-to-round options, and I agree that limited resource systems like ki points aren't ideal. But I don't like the constant accounting that would come with Prowess Points. Rather than inventing a resource, why not use the game's fundamental resource system: the Action Economy?

All characters are limited in the number of Standard Actions (and among them, Attacks), Move Actions, Bonus Actions and Reactions they may take. Simply deciding what to do with each, round to round, is managing resources. I'd just give Fighters more options of what to do with these actions, especially in function of build.


Every Fighter would choose a weapon specialty, which would grant alternative Attack options. Einhander Focus would benefit those with a weapon in one hand and nothing in the other, probably offering accuracy, targeted attacks with status effects, and new grappling options. Zweihander Focus would benefit those with a weapon held two-handed, probably offering damage, overwhelming attacks with status effects, and new shove options. Dual Weapon Focus would benefit those dual-wielding, offering extra attacks at some penalty (e.i, turn one attack into two Disadvantaged attacks) and combined attacks at some benefit (turn two attacks into one Advantaged attack). Shield Focus would benefit those with a shield, probably offering defensive uses of each Attack, like selecting an enemy that may not take AoOs against you, or selecting a creature to share your shield bonus. And Projectile Focus would benefit those using thrown or ammunition weapons, probably offering ranged equivalents to melee actions like Shove and Grapple through trick shots.

Fighters might be permitted to take more than one weapon focus, as they level, and may switch between them on the fly provided they have sufficient actions. A Fighter with a longsword might alternate between Einhander and Zweihander as they change grip. A Fighter with daggers might alternate between Dual Weapon and Projectile.

Fighters would also be able to take armour specialties, which would grant alternative Move actions. Light Armour Focus would grant Tumble, allowing the Fighter to move through occupied spaces and difficult terrain at their speed, on the condition that they end their move prone. (This effectively limits them to moving half speed and ending upright, or moving further but ending prone). Heavy Armour Focus would grant Brace, providing the Fighter with resistance to X damage types, Advantage to Dex saves and Advantage against forced movement, but keeping them planted where they are. Medium Armour Focus is harder to define, but I'm sure it could be arranged.

Fighters might choose a preferred damage type, say "Modus Operandi". Bludgeoning might daze the enemy and remove their Dex bonus to AC until a Con save is made. Piercing might rend armour and remove armour bonus to AC until a Con save is made. Slashing might tear flesh, causing DoT until a Con save is made. All three would be alternatives to your normal attack.

And finally, I'd grant Fighters additional reactions every time they gain additional attacks, and I'd define Fighter subclasses by how they use their reactions. Sentinels would gain reactions to impede enemies during enemy turns, like a parry (+proficiency to AC), a riposte (AoO when enemy misses), and improved AoO (AoO when enemy ENTERS reach, or when enemy within reach targets another creature). Sentinels would make superb duelists (einhander, light), sentries (zweihander, heavy) and bodyguards (shield, medium). Skirmishers would gain reactions to enhance themselves during their own turns, like a weave (deny AoO), a snatch arrows equivalent (dodge ranged attack), and sprint (burn reaction to move 1/2 speed). Skirmishers would make superb chargers (zwei, heavy), artillery (ranged, medium) and in hit-and-run melee (two weapon, light). Finally, Warlords would gain reactions to enhance their allies, like a long-range Help action (to Advantage attacks/skills/saves), a command to attack, a command to move, and some healing. They'd work well in coordinated attack with allies, executive roles overseeing combat, and medic-like roles.