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Thread: [3.5] Fighter Remix: Doin' it old-school

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    Default [3.5] Fighter Remix: Doin' it old-school

    The Fighter, Remixed


    When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
    The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
    But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
    With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

    -- Robert E. Howard, The Road of Kings

    What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
    I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
    The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.

    -- Robert E. Howard



    There was a time in decades past when the fighter was the king of classes, the Big Damn Hero who courageously led his party to triumph over danger again and again. In earlier editions, the fighter was the linchpin of a party, the one with the brawn, grit, and determination to slug it out against all odds, to inspire his followers, and to do battle as no other class could. Let us return to those days, and build a fighter worthy of the name!

    The remixed fighter is an open, flexible class, built to fulfill the archetype of the mundane hero who overcomes challenges through grit, courage, and sheer martial prowess. A remixed fighter might be a fierce nomadic plainsman raised in a harsh, wild land, a masterless samurai seeking to earn his next meal through his skill with the blade, a knight in shining armor, a pitiless warlord amassing a horde of raiders, an elite bodyguard loyally protecting his charge, an uncultured thug making a living through robbery and murder, or a famous gladiator beloved as a hero of the people. Or he might be any of a dozen other heroes from cinema and fantasy - the remixed fighter is the class of choice for players who seek to confront evil with martial prowess and match their blade and determination against the spells and steel of their foes. The remixed fighter and its ACFs collectively replace the barbarian, fighter, marshal, and samurai classes.

    Credits:
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    All of you. Really. The 3.5 fighter is a very narrowly envisioned class, and to find the tools to broaden its scope and options I read through dozens of fighter fixes, homebrew feats, fighter vs. wizard/monk/whatever discussions, and anything else I could find. If you've ever posted anything to Homebrew with the word "fighter" in it (or "war-marked", Jake), chances are I've read your stuff and taken what I could to build this class. You'll probably recognize a few things of yours in my fighter remix.


    Design Notes:
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    Design goals:
    Authentic. The class remains true to the feat-centric view of the 3.5 fighter. It also includes design elements, such as fighter kits, exceptional strength and the ability to make a full attack on the move, that draw from 1st and 2nd edition D&D. This is the fighter you know, but it also draws inspiration from the old-school fighter of earlier editions.
    Flexible. With more skill points, more options both in and out of combat, some difficult decisions, and plenty of room to change your mind and move in a different direction, the remixed fighter brings versatility to the table.
    Multi-Role. Different fighting styles encourage radically different types of fighters, and an expanded Martial Aptitude allows a fighter to shift his focus from day-to-day (or even round-to-round with the right choices). Unlike dedicated "defender", "striker", or "lurker" classes, the remixed fighter can easily adapt his focus to address different challenges - although not without a little forethought and planning.
    Broad Support. In the posts below this one, and in linked threads, you'll find of dozens of feats intended to support the remixed fighter. Many are straight rips of existing class features and ACFs, but many are new. A particular attempt has been made to create feats suitable for higher-level play, since fighters typically have few feat options at that level of play.
    Ease of Conversion. Should you be inclined to do so, it should be easy to convert your existing barbarian, fighter, marshal, or samurai to a remixed fighter.


    Version Log:
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    1.0 Original version.
    1.01 Corrected several typos throughout the text.
    1.02 Improved Weather the Storm to work against all energy types.
    1.1 Revised the options offered by the disciplined fighting style.
    1.11 Nerfed the mounted speed multipliers granted by the cavalry fighting style.
    1.12 More cleaning of typos. Rephrased a few sentences for clearer meaning.
    1.13 Expanded the advice in the "Playing a Remixed Fighter" section.
    1.14 Renamed "thuggish" fighting style to "cunning". Compulsively resorted everything to restore alphabetical order. Cunning fighter now gains +1d6 sneak attack with Fighting Style I.
    1.2 Reduced the scaling of the key skill bonus (now maxes at +10 instead of +20) and eliminated the "free 20" option at 17th level.
    1.3 Eliminated the choice of fighting styles from the core class, instead presenting the weapon master fighter as the "archetypal" fighter. Other fighting styles are now presented as alternate class features.
    1.4 A fighting style now lets you select two key skills from a list of several options, rather than providing four fixed key skills.
    1.5 Eliminated the Second Style and Third Style class features. This functionality will be rolled into the kit feats.
    1.6 Changed key skill options for the Weapon Master Fighting Style to Balance, Concentration, Diplomacy, Jump, or Spot. These are the discipline skills for the martial disciplines available to a warblade, except for Spot, which is the discipline for the various archery-themed homebrew martial disciplines on this forum. This should enable the fighter to get better use from the Martial Study and Martial Stance feats, if he chooses to take them. Additionally, added Intimidate as an additional key skill option for the Disciplined Fighting Style, since its Staredown and Mass Staredown features are Intimidate-based.
    1.61 Slightly re-organized the columns in the class table and added an entry in the writeup for the fighter bonus feats.
    1.7 Condensed the Hardy Soldiers and Weather the Storm combat auras into one aura that provides both damage reduction and resistance to all energy types.
    1.71 Revamped several features for the cavalry fighter ACF.
    1.72 Updated tables for new forum code. Minor changes to layout. Updated and improved the Red Tides of War tactical feat for watchful fighters.


    GAME RULE INFORMATION
    Fighters have the following game statistics.

    Abilities: Strength is especially important for fighters because it improves their melee attack and damage rolls. Constitution is important for giving fighters lots of hit points, which they need in their many battles. Dexterity is important for fighters who want to be good archers.

    HIT DIE: d12

    Level Base Attack Fort Ref Will Special Fighter Feats
    Combat Auras
    1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Martial aptitude, weapon master fighting style Bonus feat
    0
    2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Fighting style II Bonus feat
    0
    3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Combat aura +1, exceptional strength
    1
    4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Bonus feat
    1
    5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Combat aura +2, fighting style III
    1
    6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Bonus feat
    2
    7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Mobile combatant
    2
    8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Bonus feat
    2
    9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Fighting style IV
    2
    10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Combat aura +3 Bonus feat
    3
    11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 True grit
    3
    12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Bonus feat
    3
    13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Fighting style V
    3
    14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Bonus feat
    4
    15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Combat aura +4, countering strike
    4
    16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Bonus feat
    4
    17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Fighting style VI
    4
    18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Bonus feat
    5
    19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Peerless reactions
    5
    20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Combat aura +5 Bonus feat
    5

    CLASS SKILLS (4 + Int mod per level, x4 at 1st level)
    A fighter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Martial Lore (Int), Perform (weapon drill) (Cha), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str). A fighter gains additional class skills from the weapon master fighting style (see below).


    CLASS FEATURES
    All of the following are class features of the fighter.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Fighters are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with light, medium, and heavy armor, and with shields (but not tower shields). As part of his fighting style, a fighter gains proficiency with one exotic weapon, armor, or shield (such as a tower shield).

    Bonus Feat: At 1st level, and every even-numbered fighter level thereafter, you gain a bonus feat, which can be any fighter feat for which you qualify.

    Martial Aptitude (Ex): Once per day, you may spend one hour drilling with your weapons to retrain your fighter bonus feats (this does not include feats gained from your fighting style). You may change any or all of your fighter bonus feats, but you must comply with the retraining rules as normal. If you choose feats that apply to a specific piece of equipment (such as Weapon Focus), you must have that equipment available to practice with during your drill. All of your choices must remain legal, and you may not make choices that render you ineligible for any feat you arenít retraining, or any prestige class you have. You may not use Martial Aptitude to retrain any of your other feats, such as racial feats, feats acquired from a class feature (such as Fighting Style), feats acquired as bonus feats from another class, or the feats gained by all characters at 1st level and every 3rd character level.

    Weapon Master Fighting Style (Ex): A fighter is, first and foremost, a peerless student of the weapon master fighting style. A practitioner of the weapon master fighting style might be a stunt gladiator, a exotic weapon specialist, or a soldier who practices endlessly to perfect his technique. Your fighting style establishes a distinctive method of attack for you, and sets you apart from practitioners of other styles.

    Your style grants you proficiency with a single exotic weapon, armor, or shield of your choice. You also gain Weapon Focus (with a weapon of your choice) as a bonus feat. Additionally, select any two of the following skills: Balance, Concentration, Diplomacy, Jump, or Spot. These skills are the key skills of your fighting style. They permanently become fighter class skills for you, and your fighting style grants you additional benefits when using them as you advance in level.

    Beginning at 2nd level, you become more proficient in using the key skills associated with your fighting style. You gain a +2 competence bonus in the use of these skills. You also add your fighting style bonus to any roll made to resist disarm or sunder attempts, and to the DC of any attempts to demoralize you with the Intimidate skill.

    At 5th level, you gain your choice of any Peerless feat or Weapon Specialization (with a weapon of your choice) as a bonus feat.

    At 9th level, the competence bonus granted by your fighting style increases to +5. You gain your choice of Improved Critical, Melee Weapon Mastery or Ranged Weapon Mastery (with a weapon of your choice).

    At 13th level, you gain Skill Mastery (as the rogue ability) in the key skills of your fighting style. You gain your choice of Crushing Strike, Driving Attack, or Slashing Flurry.

    At 17th level, the competence bonus granted by your fighting style increases to +10. You gain Weapon Supremacy as a bonus feat (with a weapon of your choice).

    Combat Aura (Ex): At 3rd level, you learn to project an aura that grants you and nearby allies a special benefit. You learn to project several auras that offer different benefits, but you may project only one combat aura at a time. At first you know only a single combat aura, but as your fighter level increases, you learn new ones, as shown on Table: The Fighter.

    Projecting a combat aura is a swift action. The aura remains in effect until you use a swift action to dismiss it or until you activate a different combat aura. Activating an aura involves haranguing, ordering, directing, encouraging, cajoling, or calming allies. You size up enemies, allies, and the terrain, then gives allies the direction that they can use to do their best.

    Unless otherwise noted, your combat aura affects all allies (including yourself) within 60 feet who can hear you. Affected allies must have an Intelligence score of 3 or higher and be able to understand your language. Your aura is dismissed if you are dazed, unconscious, stunned, paralyzed, or otherwise unable to be heard and understood by your allies.

    A combat aura lets allies add +1 to certain rolls. This bonus improves by +1 at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level. All bonuses granted by combat auras are circumstance bonuses that do not stack with each other. Combat aura does not stack with the benefits of the Commanding Aura feat or the Aid Another action.

    • Follow My Lead: Bonus on skills checks with your key skills (see the Fighting Style class feature for details).
    • Hardy Soldiers: Your allies gain damage reduction (or an improvement to their existing damage reduction) and energy resistance equal to the amount of bonus the aura provides. For example, if you are 10th level, everyone affected gains DR 3/- and resist energy 3 vs. acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic.
    • Motivate Ardor: Bonus on damage rolls.
    • Motivate Attack: Bonus on melee attack rolls.
    • Motivate Care: Bonus to Armor Class.
    • Motivate Urgency: Alliesí base land speed is increased by 5 x your combat aura bonus. For example, if you are 10th level, everyone affected adds 15 feet to their base land speed.
    • Resilient Troops: Bonus to all saves.
    • Steady Hand: Bonus on ranged attack rolls.

    Exceptional Strength (Ex): At 3rd level, your intense combat training teaches you how to apply your strength more effectively. Increase your Strength bonus by 50% when dealing damage with a melee or ranged attack, or when making a Strength check, a grapple check, or a Strength-based skill check. Thus, you deal your full Strength bonus to damage with off-hand weapons, 1 1/2 times your Strength bonus to damage with weapons held in your primary hand, and 2x your Strength bonus to damage with two-handed weapons or one-handed weapons wielded with two hands.

    This bonus applies equally to melee, thrown, and ranged weapons, unarmed strikes, and natural attacks (if you have any), but cannot be used in conjunction with abilities that allow you to apply a different ability bonus to damage instead of Strength (such as the Shadow Blade feat from Tome of Battle).

    Design Notes:
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    Exceptional Strength was a key advantage of the 2e fighter, and now it's back. Because the bonus applies twice to two-weapon fighting, it makes TWF slightly more advantageous than previously. Sword-and-board also becomes a more viable tactic, because the fighter's damage output remains more credible. It also provides a modest but helpful edge when grappling the bigger creatures found at higher levels and when performing feats of raw athleticism, such as jumping onto the backs of the aforementioned beasts.

    Exceptional Strength, along with other features like Martial Aptitude, Mobile Combatant, and Countering Strike, also serves to establish the fighter's "edge" - the superior martial prowess he brings to the group that compensates for his lack of spells or martial maneuvers.


    Mobile Combatant (Ex): In combat, speed is life, and a skilled fighter embraces this truth, learning to deliver strikes swiftly and precisely even while on the move. Beginning at 7th level, you can make a full-round attack as a standard action.

    Design Notes:
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    In earlier editions of the game, the fighter was renowned for his ability to deliver a ton of attacks while on the move. Now he does so again.


    True Grit (Ex): By 11th level, you have become hardened against the horror and din of battle and the debilitating effects of spells. When initially affected by one of the conditions listed below, you may mitigate or negate the condition for the full duration of its effect. Using True Grit takes no action, and can be done at any time, even when it isn't your turn. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Constitution modifier.

    Condition Reduce to:
    Ability Drained Ability Damaged
    Blinded Dazzled
    Confused Fascinated
    Cowering Dazed
    Dazzled Unaffected
    Exhausted Fatigued
    Fascinated Unaffected
    Fatigued Unaffected
    Frightened Shaken
    Nauseated Sickened
    Panicked Frightened
    Paralyzed Stunned
    Shaken Unaffected
    Sickened Unaffected

    You cannot use True Grit more than once against a single source (for example, if you're exhausted by a ray of exhaustion, you can use True Grit to downgrade the exhaustion to fatigue, but you can't then expend a second use to negate the fatigue). If you use True Grit to mitigate or negate a condition which you must suffer as a sacrifice or cost when gaining some benefit, you automatically forfeit the benefit you would have gained.

    Design Notes:
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    While many classes have abilities designed to avoid harm, it is much more the fighter's idiom to withstand it. True Grit allows a fighter to shake off a minor disabling condition, or downgrade some truly disabling conditions to mere hindrances.


    Countering Strike (Ex): Beginning at 15th level, you learn to take advantage of even the smallest of openings in combat to deliver a quick attack. As an immediate action, you can either make a single attack, or attempt a combat maneuver that you could normally use in place of an attack, such as an attempt to disarm, grapple, sunder, or trip. If you damage a foe that is in the midst of an act that requires concentration (such as casting a spell or drinking a potion), your target must succeed at a Concentration check as normal or his action is disrupted.

    Peerless Reactions (Ex): Upon reaching 19th level, you have a mental focus greater than any opponent, allowing you to react much faster than others. You may take a second swift or immediate action each round.


    Playing a Remixed Fighter

    As a fighter, you have three general categories of abilities: iconic powers provided by your fighting style, fighter bonus feats, and supplemental features that enhance your combat prowess. It's important to understand what each of these groups of abilities can offer you when you're building your fighter.

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    FIGHTING STYLE
    Your fighting style bonus feats establish you as a master of specific weapons or combat techniques. Think about the type of weapons and gear you want to use most often, and use the bonus feats granted by your style to become especially skillful with them. Your fighting style also grants you a set of key skills - as you level up, you'll gain hefty bonuses and extra perks when using these skills.

    FIGHTER BONUS FEATS
    With Martial Aptitude, your fighter bonus feats are now a flexible, modular set of options. This means that you're free to pick special-purpose feats or feats with little application beyond the currently expected set of encounters, because you can always select different ones later when your current set is no longer useful.

    If a particular feat is likely to be the cornerstone of your build, try to avoid selecting it with a fighter bonus feat; Martial Aptitude is less useful if half of your fighter bonus feats are set in stone because you need them for a prestige class, for example. Instead, use one of the feat slots that all characters receive at every three levels to take that feat.

    To speed up game-play, keep lists of standard feat choices and option sets that you like. For example, if your character is equipped with both a spiked chain and a longbow, you might notate Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, and Precise Shot as your "archery tree" and Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, and Improved Trip as your "chain-tripper tree". Keeping these notes can streamline the process of choosing your feats, which ensures that other players aren't sitting around waiting for you to pick your feats every time the party rests.

    Since you have so many feats to choose from, you might want to write the name, prerequisites, effects, and page reference of your commonly used feats on index cards. With these "feat cards", you won't need to slow down combat by paging through sourcebooks to find out how a feat works, and if your DM has a question about a particular feat, you can immediately provide the sourcebook and page number where the feat is found, or just pass the card over for the DM to read.

    Change of Tactics (described in the second post of this thread) greatly increases the flexibility of your fighter bonus feats. If you aren't exactly sure what you'll face on a given day, take Change of Tactics as one of your bonus feats to ensure that you can adjust your tricks "on the fly" if you need to.

    SUPPLEMENTAL FEATURES
    Your supplemental features, which include Martial Aptitude, Combat Aura, Exceptional Strength, Mobile Combatant, True Grit, Countering Strike, and Peerless Reactions, don't involve many decisions, but you should be aware of what they can do for you as you assign your feats and skills. Let's briefly look at each one.

    Martial Aptitude is a huge game-changer for the remixed fighter, re-envisioning your fighter bonus feats as being a set of "tricks" or flashy moves that you can swap out with a little practice, rather than being laboriously learned techniques that required tremendous effort to perfect. Review the retraining rules (PH2 192) to ensure that you understand which choices are legal for you and which ones aren't. Keep a careful record of the choices you've made so the DM knows you're playing honestly.

    Combat Aura represents your ability to motivate and lead allies. You only learn a few combat auras, so think about the tactics that you and your teammates are likely to prefer, and choose auras that support them. In combat, talk with other players and get a feel for what actions they'd like to perform next, then choose an aura that suits everyone's game plan - it does little good, for example, if you Motivate Urgency when no one is planning to move!

    Exceptional Strength doesn't force many decisions. Just be aware that your Strength score does more for you than for most, and that effects that boost it, like bull's strength or gauntlets of ogre power, are more beneficial for you than for other characters. Exceptional Strength, when combined with your fighting style feats, can make two-weapon fighting or sword-and-board fighting more viable than you've come to expect, so if you want to play a character who fights with those tools, boost your Strength and go for it!

    Mobile Combatant is also a pretty simple option. Just keep in mind as you choose your feats and tactics that you can expect to move around the battlefield a lot without losing your combat effectiveness.

    True Grit is great when used in combination with features that offer useful benefits but have some kind of debilitating side effect, such as rage or defensive stance. You can't use it effectively if the status effect is an activation cost, however. True Grit is useful outside of combat too; you can use it to resist the fatigue that arises from sleeping in heavy armor, for example, or from heat stroke.

    Countering Strike can be used offensively to deliver a little extra damage to your opponents, but it's probably most useful when used defensively; you can strike as an immediate action to ruin a spellcaster's concentration, to disarm an opponent who's about to attack you, or to trip someone who's about to move. When considering your feat options, keep an eye out for feats that improve what you can do with an attack action - you can use Countering Strike to make these feats even more effective.

    Peerless Reactions makes certain choices MUCH more powerful for you than they were previously. Keep an eye out for ways to gain abilities that can be activated as a swift or immediate action, since you can now use those abilities twice as often.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2014-05-27 at 11:22 AM.
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