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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Sindeloke's Avatar

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    Default A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    I know I'm not the only one dissatisfied with the Battle Master as written, so I hope that I'm not the only one who's more satisfied by this revision I've cooked up. It's primarily designed to address what I believe to be the most significant demerit of the BM - that being the fact that it's a seven level class - by providing compelling reasons to take it all the way to 18; hopefully I've managed to, in doing so, also appease some of people's secondary concerns about missing Warlord features and the fighter's ability to contribute outside of combat.

    So first off, some small but important tweaks to the base fighter class:

    Spoiler: Fighter Chassis Tweaks
    Show

    Proficiencies
    Skills: Athletics, plus choose two of Acrobatics, Animal Handling, History & Politics, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Survival, and Tactics & Logistics
    Tools: Choose one of fletcher's kit, leatherworker's tools, blacksmith's tools, woodcarver's tools, or siege weapons

    2nd level
    Add Physical Expertise: At second level, your mastery of your body is already far beyond that of normal folk. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make using your Athletics skill.
    If you are proficient with Acrobatics, you may choose to gain expertise in that skill instead.

    6th level
    Add Tactical Opportunist: Starting from 6th level, you can make the most of the gaps in your enemies' defenses. When you make a successful opportunity attack, add half your fighter level (rounded down) to the damage.

    Indomitable
    Beginning at 9th level, you can reroll a saving throw that you fail. This reroll is a Constitution save, regardless of what ability the save originally called for, and you must use the new result. Once you use this feature, you must complete a short or long rest before you can use it again.

    Spoiler: Fighter changes
    Show
    Nothing particularly revolutionary here. The Expertise and extra skill stops the Iron Scoundrel from being a better sword-and-boarder than the actual fighter, and helps them contribute outside of combat. Tool proficiencies allow them to maintain their equipment. Indomitable becomes useful on nonproficient saves instead of simply offering the fighter a second failure (fear no intellect devourer!). That plus putting it on a short rest makes it less of a ribbon and more of a real defensive ability. Tactical Opportunist alleviates the issue of fighters being the single worst martial class at opportunity attacks (no Mark damage, no radiant damage, no rage damage, no sneak attack damage), giving them average damage second only to rogues (appropriately).


    And on to the main event!
    Battle Master Martial Archetype
    Those who emulate the archetypal battlemaster employ martial techniques passed down through generations. Masters among soldiers and leaders among men, Battlemasters control the flow of combat with cunning tactics or by invigorating and empowering their allies. To them, war is an art and versatility a mandate, and they compliment their broad tactical training with deep study of philosophy, history, and culture.

    Combat Superiority
    When you choose this archetype at third level, you learn unique combat techniques called maneuvers, which are fueled by special dice called superiority dice.
    Maneuvers. You start knowing two manuevers of your choice, which modify your attacks or allow you new actions. Available manuevers are detailed under "maneuvers and stances" below. Each has a level requirement; you can't learn a maneuver unless your fighter level is at least the level indicated by that maneuver. You can't combine manuevers; you may apply only one maneuver to any given attack, movement or action. Each time you gain another Battle Master feature (at levels 7, 10, 15, and 18), you learn two new maneuvers, and may also replace one known manuever with another.
    Most maneuvers require expending Superiority Dice. You begin with three of these dice, which are d8s, and gain another at fifth level and every odd fighter level thereafter. The dice increase in size to d10 at fighter level 10 and d12 at 18th. A superiority die is expended when you use it, and the maximum number of dice you can spend on a single maneuver is limited by your proficiency bonus. You regain all your expended dice when you finish a short or long rest.
    Saving Throws. Some maneuvers require your target to make a saving throw to resist their effects. You choose which attribute will govern these saves when you first adopt this archetype; select one of Strength, Dexterity or Intelligence. The saving throw DC for your maneuvers is 8+your proficiency bonus+the modifier for the ability you chose.

    Spoiler: Superiority dice
    Show
    Some big changes here from the very start. Note the new die progression, which starts you with three and tops you out at eleven dice at level 19. It's a much smoother curve, and comparable to a monk's ki in the ability to use basic maneuvers almost nonstop at high levels. It also frees up design space for more expensive maneuvers. In compensation for the spike in dice and the damage scaling on some maneuvers, I capped the dice-per-maneuver at your proficiency. This scales up independent of the subclass, but that doesn't matter since you stop getting more dice and high-level maneuvers if you multiclass anyway.

    There's a sort of minor nerf in the Saving Throw section, in that you can no longer freely choose between Dex and Str on any given attack. Let's be real though, no one was doing that anyway. You can also now make a magic-free Int-based fighter, though it costs a bit of damage and a mild maneuver tax.


    Student of War
    At third level, you gain proficiency with one Intelligence-based skill (Arcana, History & Politics, Investigation, Nature, Religion, Tactics & Logistics) and one set of artisan's tools of your choice.

    Spoiler: More skills!
    Show
    I'm basically handing out skill and tool proficiencies like candy at this point and that's fine. It's not like martials get to breathe water or raise earthen fortifications with the wave of a hand, might as well let them do everything else.


    Know Your Enemy
    Starting at 7th level, if you spend at least one minute observing or interacting with another creature, you can learn certain information about its capabilities. The DM tells you if the creature is your equal, inferior, or superior in regard to a number of the following characteristics of your choice equal to your proficiency bonus:
    * Any physical score of your choice
    * Armor class
    * Current hit points and hit point percentage
    * Current level

    If the creature you observe is trained in combat, you may also learn the general theme of its training, such as whether it uses magic offensively or is adept with bows, if it favors swords or axes, if it is accustomed to ambush or prolonged group combat, or similar information.

    Spoiler: What, no comparative fighter levels?
    Show
    Know Your Enemy is a really cool idea but it feels both too limited and too metagamey. What is a "fighter level" to a PC? They don't know what that means, it's not a real concept in their world, and it's not like monks or rogues are any less "fighters" in any way that matters in-universe. Also it's really, really stupid that actually fighting someone prevents you from figuring out if they're a better fighter than you, so this version intentionally works off of combat as well as remote observation.


    Martial Artistry
    At 10th level and above, your mastery of the art of war is apparent to even the most sheltered peasant, a fact you're able to exploit when trying to sway the will of others. You have advantage on any Charisma checks you make against creatures who have seen you fight (or otherwise demonstrate your martial prowess).

    Spoiler: Showing off has its virtues.
    Show
    Just another little non-combat perk to help the class in social situations.


    Relentless
    Beginning at 15th level, when you take the Attack action, you may sacrifice up to two of your attacks to regain the same number of superiority dice. You can't exceed your normal maximum number of superiority dice this way.

    Spoiler: Just imagine...
    Show
    ... a recovery method that actually recovers spent dice. Amazing, right?


    Unstoppable
    Once you reach 18th level, the field of battle holds no true obstacles for you. No attack roll you make ever has disadvantage.

    Spoiler: If a rogue and a fighter cross swords in the dark, who wins?
    Show
    Well the rogue has blindsight, so still him. I'm really pleased with this one, though. Simplicity, efficacy, thematic appropriateness.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    But of course just as the core of a casting class is actually the spell list, the core of a martial class is its maneuvers. So here's the real work.


    Maneuvers
    Many manevuers have a minimum fighter level requirement before you can learn them, as indicated by their placement on the list. Some require spending multiple superiority dice, and others allow you to spend more dice than usual to increase their effects; as mentioned in the class description, these extra dice can't exceed your proficiency bonus. Some maneuvers have no cost in superiority dice at all, and can be used whenever their triggering conditions are met; these don't interfere with or prevent the use of other maneuvers in any special way.

    Spoiler: Third Level
    Show

    Canny Combat When you make a weapon attack, you may use your Intelligence modifier in place of your Strength or Dexterity modifier as a bonus on the attack roll. This ability doesn't affect damage rolls.

    Gatecrasher Your weapon attacks deal triple damage to inanimate objects, and you gain a bonus on all Strength checks to break an object equal to 1/2 your proficiency bonus.

    Disarming Blow When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend a superiority die to strip an enemy of its tools. Add the superiority die to your damage, and the creature must make a Dexterity save. On a failure, it drops an item of your choice that it is holding, or which is poorly secured to it (such as a medallion on a thin chain, or a scabbard on a leather strap). The item drops at a location of your choice within reach of you or your target, or you may catch it if you have a free hand.
    You may instead choose to try to sunder any item your target is holding or wearing, dealing damage to it equal to the damage you dealt your foe. If you sunder a natural weapon, you don't deal this extra damage, but the creature can't try to use that weapon again for 1d4+1 turns.
    If you spend four dice to activate this maneuver, your target is automatically affected, with no saving throw allowed. The extra dice don't add any additional damage.

    Distracting Strike When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend a superiority die to confound its defenses. Add the superiority die to your damage, and the next weapon or single-target spell attack made against that creature before the end of your next turn has advantage.

    Evasive Footwork When you move, you may spend a superiority die, rolling the die and adding the result to your AC until the end of your turn.

    Expose When you hit a creature within reach or short range of an ally with a weapon attack, you may choose to forgo dealing any damage and instead cause the enemy to be distracted and unbalanced. Your ally may spend their reaction to immediately make a weapon attack against that creature, with advantage on the attack roll.

    Goad When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend a superiority die to force its attention on to you. Add the superiority die to your damage roll, and the target must make a Wisdom save or have disadvantage on all attacks against any creature other than you until the start of your next turn.
    If you spend four dice to activate this maneuver, your target is automatically affected, with no saving throw allowed. The extra dice don't add any additional damage.

    Lunge Before making a weapon attack, you may spend a superiority die to increase your reach with that attack by 5 feet, adding the superiority die to the damage roll if it hits. You can't use this maneuver with a light weapon.

    Pushback When you hit a creature one size larger than you or smaller with a weapon attack, you can spend a superiority die, adding that die to the damage of the attack and forcing the creature to make a Strength save or be pushed back, to a maximum distance of 5 feet x your proficiency bonus. Each time the size of your superiority die increases, you may affect creatures one size category larger with this ability.
    You may spend additional dice when you use this maneuver; if you spend three dice, creatures of your size category or smaller are automatically affected, with no saving throw allowed, and if you spend five dice, creatures one size category larger than you are also automatically affected. The extra dice don't add any additional damage.

    Precision When you make a weapon attack against a creature, you may spend a superiority die and add the die's result to your attack roll. You may use this maneuver at any time between declaring the attack and rolling damage.

    Rally On your turn, you may use your bonus action to boltser your allies' resolve. Select a creature who can see or hear you, and spend a superiority die, granting that creature temporary hit points equal to your fighter level + your Charisma modifier, plus the result of the die.
    You may spend additional superiority dice when using this manuever, either adding each die to the amount healed, or applying the full effect to an additional creature for each die spent.

    Riposte When a creature within your reach attacks you and misses, you may spend a superiority die and use your reaction to immediately attack that creature with your own weapon. Add the superiority die to the damage of this attack. Only light, finesse or versatile weapons can be used with this maneuver.

    Unbalancing Blow When you hit a creature one size larger than you or smaller with a weapon attack, you can spend a superiority die, adding that die to the damage of the attack and forcing the creature to make a Dexterity save or fall prone. Each time the size of your superiority die increases, you may affect creatures one size category larger with this ability.
    You may spend additional dice when you use this maneuver; if you spend three dice, creatures of your size category or smaller are automatically affected, with no saving throw allowed, and if you spend five dice, creatures one size category larger than you are also automatically affected. The extra dice don't add any additional damage.

    Spoiler: 3rd level maneuvers
    Show
    For the most part these don't change much from the default. I buffed Rally as part of a universal buff to healing across all classes, which I can't recommend enough, and limited some maneuvers by weapon choice as part of a larger project to make different weapons more mechanically distinct; I advise ignoring both those changes if you're not doing either of those.

    A few other minor tweaks involve merging the two advantage-granting abilities into one, because it's stupid to have one for you and one for your allies, making disarm more universally useful, and adding scaling to some maneuvers (including size scaling on push and trip - not my idea, just a good one I stole).

    Also, lazylording now only costs you your attack, rather than a bonus action and a superiority die and your ally's reaction, because that's not a wretched excess of opportunity cost compared to what it gets you at all.



    Spoiler: Seventh level
    Show

    Arcane Exposure When you hit a creature within range of an ally's cantrip, you may choose to forgo dealing damage and instead distract your target, leaving them open to a magical attack. Your ally may use their reaction to immediately cast a damaging cantrip on that creature. The cantrip used must target only that creature, and has advantage on the attack roll if it uses one, or imposes disadvantage on the save if it calls for a save.

    Cleaving Strike/Ricochet When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend two superiority dice to follow through to an adjacent foe. Add one superiority die to the damage of your attack, and select another creature within your reach (if your attack was a melee attack) or within 10 feet of your target (if your attack was a ranged attack). That creature takes damage equal to your second superiority die.

    Into the Fray If you aren't surprised when you roll initiative to begin combat, you have resistance to all damage until you take an action other than Dash or Disengage.

    Living Wall On your turn, instead of moving, you may make yourself and the area around you into an impassably hostile place for your foes. Until you move (of your own volition or otherwise), the space within your reach grants 3/4 cover to your allies (but not you), and costs your enemies one extra foot of movement per foot to cross. You must have a shield equipped to use this maneuver.

    Menacing Attack When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend two superiority dice to shake its resolve. Add the dice to your damage roll, and the creature is frightened of you until the end of your next turn.

    Motivating Blow When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend two superiority dice as a bonus action to rally your allies against your foe. Until the beginning of your next turn, any creature who can see or hear you may add your Charisma modifier to their damage rolls against your target.

    Redirection When a creature attacks you and misses, you may use your reaction to force that creature to move to any area within your reach. If you spend two superiority dice, it also falls prone in that spot.

    Spoiler: 7th level maneuvers
    Show
    One of my secondary aims was to make a Charisma-based fighter-leader BM more workable by adding some more support beyond Rally, so you'll see more of those as we go.



    Spoiler: Tenth Level
    Show

    Blinding Strike When you hit a creature, you may spend three superiority dice to temporarily impede its vision. Add one of the superiority dice to your damage, and the creature gains the blinded condition for at least one round. On each subsequent round it may make a Constitution save on its turn, regaining its vision on a success.

    Dizzying Blow When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend three superiority dice to briefly impair its combat skills. Until the end of your next turn, the target can't take reactions and must pass a Concentration check against the damage of your attack in order to cast any spell or use any special race or class ability (such as invocations, uses of ki or maneuvers).

    Hamstring When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you may spend two superiority dice to temporarily impede its movement. Add the dice to your damage, and the creature's speed falls to zero until the end of your next turn.

    Inspire Resilience If an ally who can see or hear you fails a saving throw, you may spend three superiority dice as a reaction to allow that ally to succeed on the save instead.

    Line in the Sand On your turn, instead of moving, you may spend three superiority dice to control an area against enemy passage. Select an area that forms a line five feet wide, up to fifteen feet high, and no longer than your movement speed on this terrain. You must be on this line, either at its endpoint or along its length.
    Any enemy who begins a turn in or attempts to enter the area you control with this maneuver takes damage equal to the three superiority dice, and must make a Dexterity save or be forced back five feet in a direction of your choosing.
    You may move freely through the area of this effect on subsequent turns, but if you leave it (of your own volition or otherwise) the effect ends. You may also freely end the effect or allow specific enemies through at any time.
    You may spend extra superiority dice when you use this maneuver. Each extra die spent increases the damage of entering the area by one superiority die.

    Sweeping Strike On your turn as an action, you may spend two superiority dice to make a broad swing threatening any creature near you. Roll damage normally for a melee weapon you have equipped, and add the result of your superiority dice. Any creature within reach of your weapon takes that damage, or half damage if it makes a successful Dexterity save.
    You may spend more than two superiority dice when using this maneuver. Each additional die you spend tincreases the damage by that die's result.

    Withdrawl When you have a shield or defensive weapon equipped, you may Disengage as a bonus action, increasing your speed by 10 feet for that turn when you do so.

    Spoiler: 10th level maneuvers
    Show
    The beginning of more expensive maneuvers, including a proper martial AoE (I get probably an unhealthy amount of pleasure from letting martials have real AoEs) and some battlefield control.

    Incidentally, "defensive" is a homebrew weapon property found on mostly offhand weapons like sword-catchers, parrying daggers and sai. It lets you spend your bonus action for +1 AC. Feel free to ignore that part along with the rest of the weapon restrictions.



    Spoiler: Fifteenth Level
    Show

    Guardian Sprint At the end of your turn, any area you could reach with your normal movement on your next turn is considered protected by you. If an ally within that area is attacked with a weapon or single target spell, you may use your reaction to immediately move adjacent to that ally and force the attack to target you instead. When you do so, you may spend a superiority die and add the result to your ally's AC until the beginning of your next turn.

    Iron Tide When you hit a creature one size category larger than you or smaller with a melee weapon attack on your turn, you may force it to be pushed back 5 feet. You may follow it into the space it previously occupied even if you don't have normal movement remaining.
    At fighter level 18 you may push a creature two or fewer size categories larger than you.

    Unified Resolve On your turn, you may use a bonus action and spend four superiority dice to bolster your allies' mental resilience. Until the beginning of your next turn, your allies add your Charisma modifier as a bonus on all Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma saves.

    Spoiler: 15th level maneuvers
    Show
    Here's where I start to run out of creative steam. Fortunately there are enough scaling and high-utility low-level maneuvers that a BM shouldn't feel obligated to just pick two of these three.



    Spoiler: Eighteenth Level
    Show

    Killing Blow When you make a successful weapon attack, you may spend six superiority dice to deal bonus damage equal to 2d12 plus the superiority dice you spent. If this damage reduces your enemy's hit points below 50, it must make a Constitution save or die.

    Peerless Defense When you are damaged by a weapon or single-target spell, you may spend six superiority dice as a reaction to deflect the blow, completely negating any damage or effects from the attack. You also gain temporary hit points equal to the result of your superiority dice.

    Wolfpack Strike When you make a successful weapon attack against a creature, you may spend six superiority dice to allow your allies to exploit the opening caused by your blow. Any ally who is able to attack your target with a weapon or single-target cantrip may immediately do so.

    Spoiler: 18th level
    Show
    None of these are remotely on a par with Wish or True Polymorph 1/day, but hopefully they're punchy enough to stick around for nonetheless. Couldn't think of a good Charisma-centered ability for this level, suggestions are welcome.



    So that's that. Opinions, ideas and criticisms are welcome, particularly with respect to maneuvers and what levels and costs are appropriate.
    Last edited by Sindeloke; 2015-07-07 at 02:48 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sindeloke View Post
    Combat Superiority
    Maneuvers. You start knowing two manuevers of your choice. Maneuvers can't be combined; you may apply only one to any given attack or action, and the maximum dice you may spend per turn is equal to your proficiency bonus. Each time you gain another Battle Master feature (at levels 7, 10, 15, and 18), you learn two new maneuvers, and may also replace one known manuever with another.
    Most maneuvers require expending Superiority Dice. You begin with three of these dice, which are d8s, and gain another at fifth level and every odd fighter level thereafter. The dice increase in size to d10 at fighter level 10 and d12 at 18th.
    Saving Throws. Select one of Strength, Dexterity or Intelligence. The saving throw DC for your maneuvers is 8+your proficiency bonus+the modifier for the ability you chose.

    Student of War
    At third level, you gain proficiency with one Intelligence-based skill and one set of artisan's tools of your choice.

    Know Your Enemy
    Starting at 7th level, if you spend at least one minute observing or interacting with another creature, you can learn certain information about its capabilities. The DM tells you if the creature is your equal, inferior, or superior in regard to a number of the following characteristics of your choice equal to your proficiency bonus:
    * Any physical score of your choice
    * Armor class
    * Current hit points and hit point percentage
    * Current level

    Martial Artistry
    At 10th level and above, your mastery of the art of war is apparent to even the most sheltered peasant, a fact you're able to exploit when trying to sway the will of others. You have advantage on any Deception, Intimidation or Persuasion checks you make against creatures who have seen you fight (or otherwise demonstrate your martial prowess).

    Relentless
    Beginning at 15th level, when you take the Attack action, you may sacrifice up to two of your attacks to regain the same number of superiority dice. You can't exceed your normal maximum number of superiority dice this way.

    Unstoppable
    Once you reach 18th level, no attack roll you make ever has disadvantage.
    Maneuvers: Except for spending multiple dice each attack, the limit has no effect. There are no 3rd or 7th level maneuvers that require more than one die. You state this scales well, but it really doesn't. 3-10 suffer no effect, but once you hit 11th level you start losing power. You cannot use 10th level maneuvers on each attack like at 10th level. This is not ideal scaling by any means. Also, the Int to saves is useless. It is a trap option that no one would take unless they wanted to severely weaken themselves for flavor. I know you mention this, but still why include it? If a player really wants Int to saves the DM will probably just allow it seeing as there is no benefit.

    Know Your Enemy You say that this is a good idea. Why? It promotes meta-gaming. While yes, the concept of knowing more about your enemy is an interesting one, this is not how to do it. Not only does knowing in-game stats ruin immersion but the information is almost useless. By the time you have fought in a battle for a minute, unless it is some super complicated end of campaign boss fight, the battle will be over fairly soon and you only gain relative data.

    Martial Artistry So the fighter can just start sparring with the rouge and then becomes better at talking? Intimidation makes more sense, but persuasion and deception? Well, I saw that guy brutally stab my wife to death, but he did it so well I'll believe anything he says and will follow him around. (Yes that was an exaggeration) I understand the idea of giving the fighter a sense of renown and use in social situations, but I don't think this is the way to do it. Very few people see a legendary fighter fight, they hear about what he has done and this feature doesn't really represent that.

    Relentless I actually like this idea. However, technically the fighter can just swing his sword around out of combat to regain all of his maneuvers. This causes some problems.

    Unstoppable This is okay... I guess? Considering that battle master's 18th level was just bigger die it is a straight upgrade. You add a lot of powerful utility features to a archetype that gets incredible scaling from maneuvers.

    Spoiler: Maneuvers
    Show
    3rd Level
    Gatecrasher: Why would you be attacking inanimate objects? Do to this, being a free 3rd level is fitting.
    Disarming Blow: You hit someone so hard/just right that their full plate flies into your hands. Please remove the "item it is wearing" phrase and keep "item it is holding". I might argue it would be a strength save, but it could go either way. Seems fairly costed.
    Expose: This is long range help, as a class feature. However, latter on it becomes one action = whole party with advantage. I guess this is okay, but there might be some spell it outshines.
    Lunge: Why can't you lunge with a light weapon? Is there some hidden balance I'm missing or is it just TWF hate?
    Rally: 9+X hit points as a bonus action? I know your buffing healing, but wow. That is around a third of a martial's health at 3rd level. This does not scale very well though and would probably not see play because of it.
    Unbalancing Blow: The flavor of this ability is kind of hilarious. A 3rd level fighter trips an ogre and a 20th level fighter (somehow) trips the tarrasque.
    So far so good.
    7th Level
    Cleaving Strike: I'm not so sure about this one. It lets you deal extra damage that is spread around, but lacks a rider like most maneuvers. I personally am not a fan of specific level maneuvers, so the lack of scaling from a 3rd level is okay for me. The one problem I can see is the limit making this a little weak.
    Into the Fray: This is not a great feature. You are not attacking for damage resistance. The enemies get the advantage here because while you are not attacking they can still deal some damage to you.
    Living Wall: Move the last sentence earlier. When I first saw this I thought it was incredibly overpowering with pole arms. The area it effects is really small so its probably fine.
    Motivating Blow: First of all please stop encouraging fighter with CHA. This is just a personal thing, but there is already enough CHA favored classes that we don't need more. Second of all, this is pretty bad. The fighter doesn't get a lot out of charisma so this isn't a big damage boost.
    Redirection: Again, tripping the tarrasque at 7th level. This is a slightly better unbalancing blow that triggers on something else. However, it does cause you to spend your reaction, so it may be a little weak.
    Most could work as 3rd level features but the costing is fine.
    10th Level
    Arcane Exposure: This is pretty bad for two dice. You lose a lot of DPS by taking this route and it sucks up reactions.
    Blinding Strike: Again, this isn't great for two dice. Its a 3rd level maneuver with a good rider (but brief) for twice the cost.
    Dizzying Blow: This is similar to blinding but grants more saves. Not sure how this balances out.
    Hamstring: This isn't great. Its an immobilization rider for two dice.
    Inspire: Two dice and a reaction for a riskier advantage that relies on high CHA. Not a good deal, but important for fighting super powerful effects.
    Sand Line: Due to fact that you have to be on the line, this isn't incredible for two dice. It is a lot of damage and might be used to shield your casters but is not all that great due to your mobility limitation.
    Sweeping: This is one of the better ones. It does require having a quite a few enemies at once.
    Withdrawal: Modified Cunning Action at 10th level? Not sure about this one.
    These are a little over costed
    15th Level
    Guardian: The ability that spends the dice isn't the good part. The ability to tank blows is what's important as you can do it for free. Most people would ignore the dice effect.
    Tide: This is actually really cool. Not sure about its power being at 15th level.
    Resolve: 4 out of your 9 dice for a small buff to mental saves? That is really weak. Also, fighter doesn't have enough CHA support for it to be worth pumping.
    These are more like passives than maneuvers.
    18th Level
    At this point the wizard will be able to blow the martial out of the water.
    Killing Blow: This is a lot of dice that can be wasted if they make their save.
    Defense: 6 dice for 40 hp and dodging a big blow seems balanced.
    Wolfpack: Great for the rouge(+1 turns worth of damage), not a huge buff for everyone else(+part of a turn). This is still probably pretty good for 6 dice, but it is 18th level.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    First off, thanks so much for the detailed feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by Torched Forever View Post
    Maneuvers: Except for spending multiple dice each attack, the limit has no effect. There are no 3rd or 7th level maneuvers that require more than one die. You state this scales well, but it really doesn't. 3-10 suffer no effect, but once you hit 11th level you start losing power.
    The intention is to cap scaling maneuvers like Rally and Pushback. You shouldn't lose any power at high levels, because the high level maneuvers are supposed to be potent enough that piling more effects on on top of them in a single turn would be OP; at the same time, low-level maneuvers are still viable at that level since you can pile them on every hit without having to restrict it to "X maneuvers per turn" that would make low-level stuff obsolete.

    .... although now that you mention it this doesn't play well with Action Surge, which is a problem. I suppose I could also increase the cost/potency of 7 and 10 maneuvers to 2 and 3 dice respectively to control costs more directly without the cap. Let me think on that.

    Know Your Enemy You say that this is a good idea. Why? It promotes meta-gaming. While yes, the concept of knowing more about your enemy is an interesting one, this is not how to do it. Not only does knowing in-game stats ruin immersion but the information is almost useless. By the time you have fought in a battle for a minute, unless it is some super complicated end of campaign boss fight, the battle will be over fairly soon and you only gain relative data.
    I'm confused by your claim of metagaming here - there's nothing metagamey about "he looks like he's a lot stronger than you," or "you can tell you're more agile than it," or "she has the muscled shoulders of an archer," or "you can see the faint calluses and unconscious finger-twitches of a mage accustomed to flinging offensive magic." It is a massive fantasy trope that the wandering swordmaster can recognize another master or know how badly outclassed his enemy is simply by how other people move and hold themselves and what type of musculature and physical fitness they have. And this version is a lot less metagamey than the default version since it doesn't distinguish between "fighter" levels and other class levels.

    But yeah, you're still not supposed to be using it in battle. It's just that you can now because it didn't make sense that you couldn't.

    Relentless I actually like this idea. However, technically the fighter can just swing his sword around out of combat to regain all of his maneuvers. This causes some problems.
    As a DM I wouldn't let a fighter swing his sword around wildly at nothing and call it an attack action, but this is a fair point. I'll tweak the wording.

    Unstoppable This is okay... I guess? Considering that battle master's 18th level was just bigger die it is a straight upgrade.
    Well, yes, that's why you never took BM past level 7. Like you said, at this point full casters are blowing martials out of the water regardless, so I'm not worried about giving them too much utility.

    Gatecrasher: Why would you be attacking inanimate objects? Do to this, being a free 3rd level is fitting.
    Disarming Blow: You hit someone so hard/just right that their full plate flies into your hands. Please remove the "item it is wearing" phrase and keep "item it is holding". I might argue it would be a strength save, but it could go either way. Seems fairly costed.
    You hit inanimate objects to break them. Quickly knock down doors, smash through floors or the bars of a jail cell, whatever. "Item it is holding" restricts cutting purses, spell component pouches and evil artifact medallions off of enemies, which is something disarm has always been used for... I'll put a clause in there about "loosely attached" maybe.

    Into the Fray: This is not a great feature. You are not attacking for damage resistance. The enemies get the advantage here because while you are not attacking they can still deal some damage to you.
    The point isn't to refrain from attacking in order to get resistance. It's so that melee fighters aren't so badly penalized when they can't attack for a round or two while they're closing the distance. Slap the Charge feat on there and it's not a bad combo if your character completely dumps Dex and can't attack usefully from range.

    10th Level
    These are a little over costed
    What would you change? I'm thinking of taking the saves off the riders and making them automatic. I never liked the double-gate anyway, especially in light of some of the conversations we've been having in other threads about how magic gets auto-successes where martials have to roll.

    Killing Blow: This is a lot of dice that can be wasted if they make their save.
    Think I should take the auto-hit off, then, and just throw the dice on as damage if you do hit? More reliable, but it feels a little boring. I've also been trying to find ways for fighters to target more saves just generally, so they can do more of the tactical targeting of weaknesses that casters get instead of always being stuck with AC, good or bad.
    Last edited by Sindeloke; 2015-06-26 at 02:28 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    This is very well done, especially the different manoeuvres, and I say that as someone who doesn't really enjoy having characters throw named 'moves' around in fights.

    A couple of details I think will cause problems. Cleaving strike/Ricochet provides too much damage - if you're fighting more than one enemy, you can add an extra weapon die plus superiority die on every attack until you run out of dice. E.g. at level 10, you can get 12d6+6d10 extra damage per short rest if you are wielding a greatsword, or an average of 75 extra damage. That's 3 rounds of attacks at that level, or 2 rounds at level 11 when you get the next attack. And you probably only get about 10 rounds of attacks per short rest, so it's the equivalent of at least 20% more damage or an extra 2 action surges.

    You need to be similarly careful about the other manoeuvres that allow you to attack more than one creature. I agree that fighters should be able to do it, but their existing damage output means you can't make it too easy for them.

    For instance, Line in the Sand is already potentially exploitable, in that two Battle Masters can set up adjacent lines and shuffle enemies between them. But even without that, a 40ft line that both damages and prevents movement is a big deal, especially since you can do it at least 3 times per short rest (and, after level 15, you can alternate turns between 'make a line that deals 2d10 damage to every creature starting its turn there' and 'attack once, expending 2 attacks to regain 2 dice', at no net cost).

    I don't really understand the point of Iron Tide. What is it useful for?

    You could make Killing Blow an actual save against death. Say, if your attack plus the superiority dice takes them below 50HP, they have to pass a con save or die. It's like a weak form of Power Word Kill - appropriate at level 18, but also worth about half of your superiority dice.

    Finally, and this is apparently just a quirk of mine, I don't like abilities that let the Fighter "inspire" other party members whether or not that is appropriate to their character (e.g. when the ornery, no-nonsense, elf-resenting dwarf is inspired by a flippant and high-handed elf). Whether my character feels inspired or not should depend on me, not the game mechanics. But abilities like that are a common theme, so I can understand you wanting to include them.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    i would clarify that disarming strike won't work on all worn objects. in particular, disarming someone of, say, platemail, would be a bit much at level 3. (attempting to break it should be fine, presumably platemail is gonna be pretty tough to destroy though). of course, knocking someone's hat off their head would be fine, but i would limit it to "loosely worn" objects for the most part (which is unfortunately not defined).

    evasive footwork is a bit much, i think, for a level 3 ability. it can too easily take you off the die if you roll well and have good defenses already. the original version stops when you stop moving, so it was basically a protection from opportunity attacks while you reposition... this is just protection from all attacks for a round.

    i feel like expose might be a bit too much for at-will in a party with a rogue, and kinda "meh" for most other parties. my inclination is to add the superiority die cost back in because you kinda have to assume a best-case scenario when balancing (which is unfortunate, because i don't think it would be a problem in a party that doesn't include a rogue to have it at-will).

    lunge i would recommend allowing it to increase your reach for opportunity attacks also.

    into the fray feels weird. you can move 5 feet closer if you want and gain resistance (mostly only useful if you're expecting a major attack and your current position is important. or, if you can dash without spending your main action and make a ranged attack). heck, you can move 5 feet closer, then 5 feet back. i'd change the name or tweak the effect, personally.

    motivating strike should probably specify that your allies can only add damage to that target.

    arcane exposure... probably needs a bit of help. at level 10, you're giving up your attack + superiority die damage + rider effect (so figure d8 + d10 + 5 as a minimum, plus, say, knock prone or making them too frightened to come closer) + having a superiority die in reserve, so that an ally can use a cantrip. it's kinda-sorta worth it if that ally is a warlock and you *really* need to get the damage down this turn, but is still pretty high cost. even once they get a third die, not that impressive... it isn't until level 17 that this remotely becomes worth giving up a hit for a (good) chance at a hit that will deal only a bit more damage than you would have done in the first place. probably reduce the cost to 1 superiority die.

    line in the sand is probably by far the best maneuver at level 10. i feel like it might crowd out diversity somewhat. you can do a lot of things with it.

    withdrawal: what is a defensive weapon? also, i would probably clarify that "activating" the ability means disengaging as a bonus action.

    killing blow: so you need to make an attack roll *and* they get a saving throw on what i suspect to be the most common high saving throw in the game? plus, you're spending half of your maximum superiority dice on this? imo: you already hit. they can just eat the damage and be happy you didn't use that attack to let the rogue murder their face for 1/6 the cost.



    i really like that you're adding some reasons for enemies to go after the battlemaster first. this version of the battlemaster has options that make it harder to take down enemies, and has abilities that are annoying enough to potentially grab their attention.

    about the only major "gripe" i have is that the leadership ability given to knights and hobgoblin leaders sounds *exactly* like the sort of ability that a battlemaster bloody well ought to have, and your version doesn't.

    well, that and you've basically just made champion even more obsolete. but it's not your fault that if other archetypes don't scale well at all.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Sindeloke's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    Okay, I've done some tweaking in response to feedback. To wit:

    Added Canny Combat as a level 3 maneuver. This should answer the issue of Intelligence being a trap option. The opportunity cost is high, but since it allows freely switching between ranged and melee at no accuracy loss, it shouldn't ultimately be less desirable than, say, Precision.

    Nerfed Evasive Footwork back down to vanilla. I still don't like it, but I'll agree that my cure was worse than the disease. I also dropped Arcane Exposure down to level 7 and took the price off, for better lazylording. Casters have less use for their reactions than rogues, though, so this may be an issue with warlocks in a way I don't feel the lazylording is with martials. Opinions, as ever, are most welcome.

    Tweaked Gatecrasher to affect Strength checks too. I really ought to come up with more non-combat utility maneuvers, since much of my concept was that maneuvers should be comparable to invocations (some active, some passive, some combat, some not).

    Clarified the wording on Disarm some.

    Played around with the scaling all over the place. A few maneuvers are now more expensive, and some are commesurately more potent (no more double-gating); some low-level maneuvers with double-gating can now be scaled up to remove double-gating. Rally should actually scale now, too, although not well. I do think I've pushed Cleave/Ricochet too far in the other direction, but more damage does seem too potent and I can't think of a rider that would make up the difference.

    Killing Blow is now a death save with no chance of dice waste, as suggested.

    Note I didn't do anything with Into the Fray, even though nobody likes it. I do see the flaws. Still thinking on it.

    And @Sharkforce: free +1d4 to all d20 rolls for everyone for the duration of a fight is pretty potent on a PC (and way cooler than anything the bard gets, although that's a bard problem, not a fighter problem), but you're not wrong that it's thematic. I'll see if I can't find a reasonable way to implement it (although it may pass to my Marshal archetype, if I ever get around to making that....)

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: A Better Battle Master (and minor fighter chassis fixes)

    All right, I found a possible solution for Into the Fray. It's still a bit wonky because now it doesn't work mid-combat even if you've killed all the melee and are trying to close on the archers, but now it works for running away, so maybe it balances.

    Also added a new OA ability to the fighter base class based on complaints made by the EK in an all-melee one-shot we ran this week.
    Last edited by Sindeloke; 2015-07-07 at 03:17 PM.

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