Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Fighting-Man Class

There have been a rash of posts here and there about spicing up the Fighter.  A lot of the problem with the Fighting-Man is that he is misunderstood: A fighter is not meant to be the main damage dealer (although he does deal damage well).  He is there to suck up damage through tactical positioning and higher hits, avoid damage through higher Armor Class, and protect the squishy glass cannon Magic-User and odd Thief with a crossbow.

There ought to be a lot of Fighters, whether PCs or henchmen.  Ideally, three for every other PC.  That will spread the pain around sufficiently to keep the rest of them safe.  As a sop you can use a Cleric for the same role, but it's just barely not as good since the Cleric has on average one fewer Hit per experience level.

The hardest thing about playing a Fighter is choosing when not to attack.  Of course if there's something dreadful flailing away at you or your party, it's time to open up the can.  But when there's even a chance to avoid combat, it takes the most discipline to do so when your character sheet clearly states that you're supposed to be The Fighting Man.

In order to lure otherwise savvy players into playing a Fighting-Man (for it takes some skill to play one well), I've also added some neat static abilities to the Fighter's repertoire, but nothing that makes him fundamentally different.  The key to keeping the Fighting-Man feeling old school is that there are no choices to make, and the abilities are static.

So, here's mine:

THE FIGHTING-MAN

Table 7: The Fighting-Man
Level
Title
XP
HD
1
Veteran
0
1d8+1
2
Warrior
2,001
2d8
3
Swordmaster
4,001
3d8
4
Hero/Anti-Hero*
8,001
4d8
5
Swashbuckler
16,001
5d8
6
Champion/Black Knight*
32,001
6d8
*Chaotic Fighting-Men have different Level titles at these Levels. 

The Fighting-Man is a human being who studies combat.  He may have been a woodsman, an infantryman, or a member of the town watch but now seeks out greatness by sword and by valor.

The Prime Requisite of the Fighting-Man is Strength.  See Table 2 for XP adjustments due to high or low Strength.

Arms & Armor: The Fighting-Man may use any armor and any shield.  He may use any weapon.

The Fighting-Man’s Class Abilities:

Weapon Specialization: The Fighting-Man always gets +1 to his damage roll when he hits his opponent.  This is in addition to any bonus due from other sources.

Mantle of Leadership:  A Fighting-Man may have one more Retainer than his CHA would normally indicate.  Any henchmen he leads into battle get a +1 on their Morale checks.

Cleave:  When fighting people or creatures with fewer Hit Dice than himself, the Fighting-Man may make one attack against each such target.  However, this attack is resolved on the Fighting-Man 1-3 line of the attack matrix rather than his normal line, if different.  Opponents of 4 Hit Dice or more are immune to this special attack. 

Based on questions from the +OSR community, I have decided to change this ability slightly.  The new version looks like this: 


Cleave:  When in melee with people or creatures with fewer Hit Dice than himself, the Fighting-Man may make one attack against each adjacent figure.  However, this attack is resolved on the Fighting-Man 1-3 line of the attack matrix rather than his normal line, if different.  Opponents of 4 Hit Dice or more are immune to this special attack.  

Heroic Smiting: If a Fighting-Man attacks a foe with an attack which is able to damage the target, and rolls a natural 20 (before any adjustments), the target is brought immediately to 0 Hit Points.  He may damage creatures with magical immunities with normal weapons when he reaches Level 4.

Battle-Honed Senses:  Beginning at Level 4, the Fighting-Man may sense invisible creatures as if they were visible.  This ability works out to 30’ and only during combat.


Great Bravery: Beginning at Level 4, Fighting-Men are immune to fear, including magical fear. 
In addition, they force an immediate Morale check by their opponents when they cross within melee range (3 scale inches) with normal-types.

Forge Lore:  At Level 6, Fighting-Men may craft weapons and armor in their strongholds using the same rules as Magic-Users do.  They may not craft other kinds of magic items.




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