Warrior Gambits

I’ve been mulling over martial encounter powers lately. While encounter powers are good at varying actions between rounds, they do encourage throwing out your strongest stuff until you’re down to grinding away with at wills.

On approach I came up with the use of “gambits”. Basically how they’d work is you’d declare them when making a weapon attack. If the attack hits, you get a minor perk and a free secondary attack based on the gambit used. It the initial attack fails, the target instead gets a bonus to defend against further that gambit for 1 round, as they’re on guard against it.

That should create an interesting flow overall. At around 50% accuracy, the player would be looking at a 50% chance of needing to change gambits, 25% chance of an at-will level hit, and a 25% chance of an encounter level hit. I’d have to work out the numbers, but that does seem to be a workable approach. Give the player 3 gambits to start and they’ll have a choice each round even when a gambit is down.

One potentially issue I see is that the chance of heavy hits gets really badly hit by low accuracy. To counter that, I might add a “feint” option. If you take that, a miss triggers the secondary attack instead of a hit. The result would be higher accuracy at the cost of removing the chance to double hit.

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Martial Reactions

I’ve been tinkering with setting up a one-shot style game with emphasis on finding a hidden threat. While I puzzle that out, here’s a “mixer” idea I’ve been toying with for making fighter actions more varied.

Special Techniques

At 1st level, a fighter gains 2 flourishes and 2 reversals. As they advance, they may gain more of both.

Flourishes are special rider effects that can be triggered when the user hits with an appropriate attack. Only one flourish can be used be used per action. Each flourish also has a special feature that reduces its effectiveness is used too often, due to enemies adapting to and anticipating that flourish.

Reversals are similar to flourishes, but are activated when the user misses. As with flourishes, they are limited to one per action and lose effectiveness if overused.

Sample Techniques

Here’s how the above techniques might look in a 4e style format.

Deadly Threat
Free Action – Martial, Flourish
Your mighty blow puts your foe on the defensive, making it that much harder for them to fight back.
Trigger: You hit with a weapon attack with no other flourishes.
Effect: The target of the attack is distracted (-2 to all attacks) until the end of your next turn.
Special: If you’ve used this power since the start of your last turn, the target is only distracted until the start of their next turn.

Unstoppable Force
Free Action – Martial, Reversal
Your powerful strikes can break through the heaviest armor.
Trigger: You miss with a weapon attack with no other reversals.
Effect: If the failed attack would hit the target’s Reflex, you can still do half the attack’s normal damage. If not, you can push the target 1 square.
Special: If you’ve used this power since the start of your last turn, the target may shift 1 square as an opportunity action to avoid this power’s effects.

Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Warrior Fundamentals

Sorry for the delay. Being sick this week has thrown me for a loop. Here’s a rough idea of the base I’d like to build the warrior / fighter’s offense out from. This lets the character pick a style that favors their abilities and ensures they get results every round.

Weapon Expert

Pick 3 weapon properties.  You are considered trained in any weapon that has at least one of these properties (granting access to its advanced properties).  If the weapon has more than one of these properties, you’re treated as having mastered it (granting access to its expert properties).

Advanced Strikes

Choose an attack technique.  The technique must modify a standard weapon attack.  Note that a given action can only benefit from one technique.

Brutal Impact

  • Target Action: A weapon attack made with a two handed or heavy weapon.
  • Attack Effect: If the attack does not use strength to hit, gain a strength based damage bonus.
  • Miss Effect: If the attack misses, the target suffers knockback damage.

Darting Assault

  • Target Action: A weapon attack made with a light weapon.
  • Attack Effect: You may use your dexterity bonus as your ability bonus when making an attack against armor.
  • Miss Effect: You can make a guarded step as a free action.

Cunning Feint

  • Target Action: A weapon attack made with a light weapon.
  • Miss Effect: The next creature to attack the target gets a bonus to their attack roll.
  • After Effect: You can use your intelligence bonus as your ability bonus to attack rolls against the target until the end of your next turn.

Draw Out

  • Target Action: A weapon attack.
  • Attack Effect: You can use your wisdom bonus as your ability bonus to the attack roll.
  • Miss Effect: You gain a defense bonus against the target’s attacks until the start of your next turn.

Vicious Assault

  • Target Action: A weapon attack.
  • After Effect: The target takes a penalty to attack rolls based on your charisma.

Relentless Onslaught

  • Target Action: A weapon attack made with a weapon in each hand.
  • After Effect: The target takes knockdown damage based on your constitution.

Future Development

The “advanced” and “expert” properties mentioned in weapon studies are a nod to the an idea I saw a while ago about basing the stats of weapons on the user’s skill level. On review, this feature goes as far back as the weapon mastery system in basic D&D. I like the idea that two masters are even footing even if one is wielding an unlikely weapon. As such, weapons that start with weak basic traits will likely be brought up to parity with top tier weapons once their expert properties are unlocked.

Next time, I’ll take a look on how to add “mixer” features that encourage more varied fights.

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Delver Fighting Styles

I’ve been thinking about representing a character’s overall combat ability with a fighting style. I may then build up similar styles to handle other kinds of challenge like persuasion and investigation. Here’s what I’m looking for in a fully developed fighting style:

  • Scaling – keeps output consistent with level increase
  • Failsafe – ensures something happens every round
  • Attribute Affinity – bind to attributes for flavor
  • Flow – provides variation
  • Tactics – provides direction and services
  • Specialties – provides personalization
  • Exertion – ability to stretch resources (especially in extended fights)

After some further tinkering, here’s what I’m looking at to cover those bases:

Style Features

Empowering Features make the character more effective at overcoming certain types of challenges.

  • Favored Actions ensure that the target actions will scale up with the character’s level, meaning that as the character approaches legendary status, they should be able to pull off similarly epic effects with these actions.
  • Action Proficiencies help ensure that even when the character fails with an action they still end up better off than if they had done nothing.  In addition to fall back perks, these features also provide thematic flavor by favoring certain approaches and attributes.
  • Techniquesencourage the player to vary their actions.  They also serve to create high and low point in character performance as well as linking those points together.
    • Reserve Techniques are a special type of technique that let the character occasionally push beyond their normal limits at the cost of stamina.  Such exhausting actions can rarely be done in rapid order in any but the most desperate circumstances.
  • Tactical Training helps shape the character’s play style by giving them a specific “job” they excell at.

Endurance Features extend how long the character can safely participate in certain challenges.

  • Conditioning let the character spend resources to stay in a challenge longer.  This usually takes the form of a basic defense pool that can be expended to protect the character.
  • Defense Proficiency let the character increase the effectiveness of certain defensive options.  In effect, it lets the player choose how the character keeps themselves safe in a given challenge.
  • Recovery Actions let the character stay in a challenge longer by spending stamina.  Usually only one such action can be used per challenge.

Specialties: These give the player a little room to fine tune what aspect of the style they want want to emphasize.  These specializations can apply to empowering or endurance features as desired.

Future Plans

Of the above features, I’ll probably push Favored Actions to at least 2nd level as scaling doesn’t matter until levels start increasing. Specialties would start coming online around veteran levels, once the character has a chance to get their feet wet and player has had time to get a feel for how they want them to develop.

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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