3.5 Looking for more combat feats - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    To pick a nit, Run doesn't add to your base movement ability. It adds to your multiplier when doing a full run.

    Since a full run (4x move) happens so rarely, and may in fact be impossible for some who prefer heavy armor, bumping that potential to 5x isn't such a big thing as one might think.
    Are you talking to me?

    Because this is what I wrote: "The rebuilt fighter also gets 4 skill points and access to four new skills: leadership, tactics, porter, and run."

    Also remember that there is another "fighter" class that many of these are aimed at: The Warrior. The Warrior is the NPC class, the combat type who stands in a shield wall, or wields pikes or spears as part of a group maneuver. Fighters are a PC class, the individual hero rather than the city guard or footman in the infantry. The roles aren't the same and the requirements aren't the same.
    3.X Fighter is widely regarded as a tier 5 class, meaning that it fails to even fulfill the role it is designed for to any degree. If Fighter were an NPC class, it would still be underpowered. Warrior is so underpowered, it doesn't even functionally allow the characters to perform the martial role you suggest of creating shield walls or wielding pikes in formation. It's difficult or impossible to use the class to simulate the different tactical approaches ancient armies used in combat.

    The other martials are less limited, but still don't rise above tier 3. Getting all core classes to within a tier or two requires some concerted effort. I'm trying to explain that simply adding new more potent feats won't on its own get there.

    Because the campaign doesn't always involve all aspects of play equally, and may have some so thoroughly minimized as to be insignificant, the need for all of those "essential" feats and abilities just migh not be there.
    I'm not quite sure what you are getting at, but by 'essential feats' I mean not those that open up tactical possibilities or grant you bonuses in certain environments. I mean feats that without which a fighter will not survive high level play unless buffed with things like Freedom of Action. In 3.X RAW, the fighter is not so much a standalone class as an appendage of spellcasting classes - a buffing target - which is nice but also largely unnecessary. Some compensation for that can be made by having your 'fighter' be mostly some other class either to get spell access to get up above the one effective feat every other level limitation, but this is a class which is largely outclassed by the Druid's animal companion in combat and which has in the RAW almost no out of combat utility.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Close Quarters Fighting is an example of something that fighters absolutely need to stay relevant, but it brings up an important point here and that is feat tax. If you can compose a list of feats a fighter absolutely has to have to stay relevant, then you are actually creating a count of how many feat slots the fighter is short of in its design to being balanced. You have to either grant these feats as class abilities or else add that many slots to the fighter if you are going to go this route. My rebuilt fighter gets 17 bonus feats and six class abilities compared to the 11 bonus feats of the stock fighter, filling in for what I feel is a short fall of 12
    feats.
    Again, you and I are on the same page here. I'm definitely aware of the effect, but haven't made any real changes in the area yet. I think the biggest thing holding me back is that I just started a new group this year. The group has a mix of people new to D&D and people returning after a long hiatus, and I'm reluctant to make major homebrew changes to the game while they are still learning it. Because of this I've deliberately decided to limit most of my changes for now to new feats. But over the long term your changes sound a lot more like the direction I want to go.

    The other thing I'm weighing is, if I'm making this many changes to the system, would it be better to just look to an alternate system. 5E seems decent (although I can already think of a few houserules I would want), and PF2 actually looks like it may be promising. Of course, I was hoping that PF1 would address the very issues we're discussing in this thread, but instead it made them arguably worse, so I don't know how much hope I have for PF2.

    The rebuilt fighter also gets 4 skill points and access to four new skills: leadership, tactics, porter, and run. The first two let you do minor buffs in combat and remove morale debuffs, plus open up feat trees to make you good at that stuff (like using them as free actions). The second two grant you flat bonus to your carrying capacity and base movement rate, both of which give you problem solving ability. In the long run I also intend to tie tactics and leadership to a mass combat system, so that fighters naturally excel other classes in leading armies in battle.
    That actually sounds really cool. The skills system is a great way to open up more possibilities without tying combat potential to feats. I'd be really interested in seeing your skill writeups, if you're willing to share.

    Imagine for example a feat that says, "If you suffer a condition like dazzled, stunned, dazed, blah blah blah, that condition automatically lasts 1 round less". If that doesn't go far enough, you could just flat out half the duration of the conditions (rounding down).
    My current incarnation of this is a new feat:

    Heroic Resilience
    Pre-req: One of Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
    If you are under the effects of a negative magical effect, you can take a standard action to end the effect by making another saving throw against the effect's original DC. You can only make one additional save against any given magical effect.

    I haven't seen it in play, so I'm not sure if it will be effective enough.

    It's one of those nigh game breaking abilities to change the rules of reality. You are going to have a hard time matching that and not turning a martial character into a spell-caster. It's not just the ability it grants in combat, but the fact that it is a massively powerful problem solver for a wide variety of out of combat situations.

    You keep focusing on dealing damage in combat as if that's the real problem martials face. It's not. The real problem is what does a martial do in response to a wall of stone or more to the point a wall of force being raised in their face. And that points to general problems that extend outside the area of the martial class design, like the fact that wall of force is written to have no responses to it other than equally powerful magic. It's written in absolute language and without any sort of quantification. It would be one thing if it said, "The wall of force has hardness 100." Instead, it has immunity. If you want martials to compete with spellcasters, one area you have to start dealing with is the fact that spellcasters get agency without qualification or quantification.
    Well, I don't actually think I've been completely focused on damage. After all, my OP specifically was asking for advice on new tactical options. I definitely think the problem is a lot bigger than just damage.

    Wall of Force (and worse, Forcecage) is a particularly challenging problem, but it is likewise a problem for pretty much everything in the game that doesn't have teleportation or blink abilities. I'll settle for not solving that one outright if I can at least address some of the others.

    Survival, heal, endurance. The Endurance feat can be very powerful if you have a hazards system well tied to it, and I've even considered turning Endurance into a skill. You have to start making skills matter in very tangible ways, and if that means things like allowing the Heal skill to heal wounds via first aid in some limited way, then you need to go there. Of course, skills don't always just help martials, but if you start looking at martials get more skills than spellcasters and the fact that spell-casting itself is a skill sink (concentration, spellcraft and in my game scry) then you can start getting more balance going.
    I think you're on to something with the skills. This gives me a whole new area to think about it, so I'm going to see what I can come up with. As I said before, I'd also love to see any houserules you have in this area.

    I don't know what you mean by nerf, but you have to be very careful about increasing the available spells or you will never get balance. And you have to really pay close attention to how spells work. Spells like Spider Climb and Jump in and of themselves go a long way to making Martials second class citizens because they let you do things as a low level character or with a trivial exercise of power that martials would struggle to do as a high level character.
    Oh yeah, for sure. I always felt the Orb spells, for example, and the notion that SR doesn't apply to Conjuration, were a terrible design approach. It essentially just became a way to put good spells in Conjuration and skirt SR as a meaningful defense. On the subject of Spider Climb and Jump, I'm fine with them at low-levels, because they still represent a significant investment of capability for the spellcasters. At higher levels, though, when those slots are throwaways, the non-casters should definitely be competitive.

    Overall it sounds like you see some of the challenges in much the same way as I do, and you've actually had the time and experience to implement some changes to address them. Thanks!

  3. #13
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    First, off, sorry about misreading. I saw "Run" and thought about the standard feat. I didn't realize that you were proposing a skill with the same name.

    Voice of experience here: I wrote a super hero game a decade or three ago that included Run as a skill. Everyone maxed it out, always. Add enough and anyone can be the Flash. It's a bad idea, and warps play significantly.

    My reference to the Warrior wasn't suggesting it as a playable class. Instead I was saying that there is another class, an NPC class specifically designed to fill the more boring parts of medieval fantasy warfare, such as working a shield wall or garrison duty. We don't need to provide every PC class with enough option slots (feats and/or skills) to make them a master of every aspect of combat. Some of those duties are usually reserved for NPCs (i.e Warriors).

    In fact it's the need to pick and choose what to master that gives PC characters their individuality, ability wise. Your view seems to be paradoxical in a way: By adding more option slots, based on perceived "Gotta have it" needs, you effectively advocate for their being no real options at all. If every "option" is actually a requirement, then nothing is actually "optional".

    <Tangent>I always thought it odd that the Paladin is supposed to exemplify Law. Law in D&D is defined as adhering to the standards of society. Since most of society is all about staying home, working a job or a farm and raising a family, being any kind of Adventurer at all is a form of rebellion against the standards of society. Viewed that way, as soon as someone becomes a Paladin, they stop being one. </Tangent>

    But then, Alignment is a topic for another day.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmoe View Post
    Again, you and I are on the same page here. I'm definitely aware of the effect, but haven't made any real changes in the area yet. I think the biggest thing holding me back is that I just started a new group this year. The group has a mix of people new to D&D and people returning after a long hiatus, and I'm reluctant to make major homebrew changes to the game while they are still learning it. Because of this I've deliberately decided to limit most of my changes for now to new feats. But over the long term your changes sound a lot more like the direction I want to go.
    Ok cool. I'll back off on the whole "You should rebuild things from the ground up."

    The other thing I'm weighing is, if I'm making this many changes to the system, would it be better to just look to an alternate system. 5E seems decent...
    I dream of having a system I don't have to house rule, and I was kind of hoping 5E would be that system but (even though I don't run it) the more I investigate the more it seems like I would be trading a set of known problems which I've fairly good solutions for for a whole bunch of problems still being discovered.

    PF did in fact double down on the problems with 3.X, so there is no hope there. Content can be filched, and I really want to borrow some of the language around combat maneuvers for my homebrew, but it's not a balance solution.

    That actually sounds really cool. The skills system is a great way to open up more possibilities without tying combat potential to feats. I'd be really interested in seeing your skill writeups, if you're willing to share.
    The potlatch economy at EnWorld has broken down, and it makes me reluctant to share, but...

    My current incarnation of this is a new feat:

    Heroic Resilience
    Pre-req: One of Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
    If you are under the effects of a negative magical effect, you can take a standard action to end the effect by making another saving throw against the effect's original DC. You can only make one additional save against any given magical effect.
    That's actually really cool. And since you provided content, when I get home I'll probably open up some of what I'm doing with martial feats and see if some of it might be what your looking for. My suggestion though is in some cases you'll need to combine several of my feats into single 'capstone' feats. Actually, I've been moving that direction myself.

    Wall of Force (and worse, Forcecage) is a particularly challenging problem, but it is likewise a problem for pretty much everything in the game that doesn't have teleportation or blink abilities. I'll settle for not solving that one outright if I can at least address some of the others.
    I solved them by rewriting the spell. In fact, a lot of my solution to this problem is rewriting spells.

    On the subject of Spider Climb and Jump, I'm fine with them at low-levels, because they still represent a significant investment of capability for the spellcasters. At higher levels, though, when those slots are throwaways, the non-casters should definitely be competitive.
    I left those in the game though spider climb is significantly nerfed in some respects compared to its RAW version. My version simply gives the caster a climb speed, giving them a +8 bonus on climb checks and the other benefits of a natural climb speed. It's still good for solving particular problems when your character lacks athletic ability, but its no longer good enough that you can cling to the ceiling and effectively fly without any of the drawbacks of flying unless your character is also investing in the climb skill itself. In other words, it doesn't obsolete the climb skill.

    My point was to try to make you aware of part of the reason casters outshine martial classes, which it sounds like you've already given some consideration to. Having a character with a +8 bonus to climb all the time only matters if you can solve problems reliably with a +8 bonus to the check. It turns out being able to occasionally get a +30 bonus solves more problems more regularly and more reliably than a +8 bonus all the time. Solving that problem, and the general class of problems its an example for, can't be solved through feats and class design alone. You have to change your approach to skills, spells, and adventure design as well. For example, that +8 bonus to climb matters a ton if DC 10 climb checks occur regularly. At that point reliably passing the small challenges starts to balance with occasionally solving a larger problem spectacularly.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Friday, 8th June, 2018 at 07:47 PM.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    First, off, sorry about misreading. I saw "Run" and thought about the standard feat. I didn't realize that you were proposing a skill with the same name.
    I'm not proposing anything. I'm explaining that I've got 8 years play testing a homebrew set of rules.

    Voice of experience here: I wrote a super hero game a decade or three ago that included Run as a skill. Everyone maxed it out, always. Add enough and anyone can be the Flash. It's a bad idea, and warps play significantly.
    So, was Run a class skill of every class, or was it a skill limited to the speedster class? Did your system not have classes and class skill lists? Did your system give you a linear boost or a non-linear boost? Then why in the world would you think your voice of experience has any relationship to what I'm talking about given we've clearly experienced very different things in very different situations.

    I wouldn't be giving this advice if it was only theoretical.

    My reference to the Warrior wasn't suggesting it as a playable class. Instead I was saying that there is another class, an NPC class specifically designed to fill the more boring parts of medieval fantasy warfare, such as working a shield wall or garrison duty.
    My point is that the warrior cannot in fact fill that role. Indeed, workable rules for shield walls and phalanxes or other basic martial tactical options aren't even a part of the RAW, but if they were the warrior would be unable as written to participate in them because they'd be silo'd off as feats that the warrior doesn't have real access to.

    We don't need to provide every PC class with enough option slots (feats and/or skills) to make them a master of every aspect of combat. Some of those duties are usually reserved for NPCs (i.e Warriors).
    I'm not talking about enough slots to make a PC class a master of every aspect of combat. I'm talking about giving them enough option slots to compete with spell-casters without drastically reducing the number of spell-slots available to spellcasters (which would likely not have the intended result anyway, but would instead just enforce a shorter adventuring day between rests).

    In fact it's the need to pick and choose what to master that gives PC characters their individuality, ability wise. Your view seems to be paradoxical in a way: By adding more option slots, based on perceived "Gotta have it" needs, you effectively advocate for their being no real options at all. If every "option" is actually a requirement, then nothing is actually "optional".
    I'm afraid I don't think you know what you are talking about. Do you have any idea how many feats are available in my homebrew? Do you or do you not realize that one of my goals in redesigning the fighter class was that you could build a party of six fighters and have no character with the same schtick as any other character in the party? What I was talking about was, and I here repeat myself again, those abilities which are necessary for the character to be self-reliant (or at least to close the gap in self-reliance between the wholly self-reliant caster classes and the martial classes). They have no bearing on whether you are an agile swashbuckler, a stalwart myrmidon in an iron shell, an archer with deadly aim, a sharp eyed sentry, a noble cavalier, a master tactician, or a charismatic leader of men or any number of other ways to envision being a 'fighter'. How is that less diverse than what is provided for by the raw?

    <Tangent>I always thought it odd that the Paladin is supposed to exemplify Law. Law in D&D is defined as adhering to the standards of society. Since most of society is all about staying home, working a job or a farm and raising a family, being any kind of Adventurer at all is a form of rebellion against the standards of society. Viewed that way, as soon as someone becomes a Paladin, they stop being one. </Tangent>

    But then, Alignment is a topic for another day.
    Maybe so, but I don't think it would be a very profitable topic since you seem to think the standards of society can be defined solely through the mode of society. Is the King in rebellion against the standards of society by being a monarch, seeing as everyone else in society is not one? Thus, is it inherently chaotic to be the king and no way for a king to conform to the standards of society?
    Last edited by Celebrim; Friday, 8th June, 2018 at 07:48 PM.

  6. #16
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    Actually, even before I get home and get a chance to pull some ideas from my house rules, I can help you in a small way with this link:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...im-The-Fighter

    It's from like 7 years back and some of the ideas then are a bit unrefined, and the example new fighter feats in the thread aren't focused on what you are looking for, but it might give you some ideas of where I am going or where you could go.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Actually, even before I get home and get a chance to pull some ideas from my house rules, I can help you in a small way with this link:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...im-The-Fighter

    It's from like 7 years back and some of the ideas then are a bit unrefined, and the example new fighter feats in the thread aren't focused on what you are looking for, but it might give you some ideas of where I am going or where you could go.
    Awesome, thanks, I'll check it out.

  8. #18
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    I've always enjoyed the Rule of Cold Iron when it comes to giving martials a method of dealing with magic types.

    For those not familiar it is traditional in many folk lore, fairy tales, and fantasy stories for Cold Iron to be the bane and/or natural counter of arcanists and arcane effects of all types, be they natural arcanists such as Fey, or learned arcanists such as magic users.

    We would use a fairly simple method of application (off the top of my recollection):

    • cold iron is only bane to those creatures that it says it is
    • cold iron restrains all other arcane types (cold iron shackles, for example, prevent any casting of arcane spells; cold iron could be fashioned to block/restrain a magic item or even area if enough was used)
    • cold iron blocks magical effects, if line of sight and line of effect are blocked
    • secondary non-magical side effects of magic are not affected, (elemental, physical non-magical objects created, etc.,) other than how a chunk of metal would affect or be affected
    • cold iron cannot be enchanted in any way


    Something like this.... In any case, this sort of alteration has a big social effect upon the game, as well as giving mundanes a way to curb the curbstomp potential of the magical types.
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  9. #19
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    The hard fact is that mundanes face a serious curb-stomp potential from leveled martial types. according to several world guides I've read, 90% of the world is something like first or second level. Elite soldiers might be third, with NCOs at about the same level.

    So a 9th or 10th level Barbarian will probably be killing them at a rate of one per swing, while having an AC that they can't touch without a natural 20.

    On cold iron: In our games we realized that the spell Greater Creation had the capacity to produce gold, albeit temporary "Faerie Gold", that is indistinguishable from real gold, except by such means as Detect Magic, which isn't casually available to most shop keepers.

    So we implemented a small change to that: The effects/products of the Creation and Greater Creation spells were dispelled by contact with Cold Iron. Many shop keepers would have a platen or bar of cold iron bolted or otherwise attached to their counter. All coin received was checked against it. If it vanished, then somebody called the guard and there was a lot of 'splaining to do.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenfield View Post
    The hard fact is that mundanes face a serious curb-stomp potential from leveled martial types. according to several world guides I've read, 90% of the world is something like first or second level. Elite soldiers might be third, with NCOs at about the same level.

    So a 9th or 10th level Barbarian will probably be killing them at a rate of one per swing, while having an AC that they can't touch without a natural 20.

    On cold iron: In our games we realized that the spell Greater Creation had the capacity to produce gold, albeit temporary "Faerie Gold", that is indistinguishable from real gold, except by such means as Detect Magic, which isn't casually available to most shop keepers.

    So we implemented a small change to that: The effects/products of the Creation and Greater Creation spells were dispelled by contact with Cold Iron. Many shop keepers would have a platen or bar of cold iron bolted or otherwise attached to their counter. All coin received was checked against it. If it vanished, then somebody called the guard and there was a lot of 'splaining to do.
    Excellent comment on cold iron. I'll double check, but if we weren't already doing that, we will be from now on. =D

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