Fluid Fighting Style


Once A Fool
Yet another port from deep within a Giant in the Playground thread. Thought I'd share. As per normal, an analysis of my design decisions follows (this one gets a little bit more math-heavy than usual).

You could limit this fighting style to Fighters or Rangers for thematic reasons, but Dex-Paladins might like it, too.

Fluid Fighting Style

Your movements in combat flow smoothly from one to another and your strikes gain a graceful precision, thereby.

Whenever you hit with a finesse weapon, add 4 to the value of any weapon die roll that displays the maximum possible result for that die. In addition, you may treat any melee weapon that does not have the "heavy" property as if it has the "finesse" property.​

This being a fighting style, I wanted to keep it simple and not too powerful, but merely allowing larger (non-heavy) weapons to be finesse-able only represents a +1 avg. bonus to what is normally available through finesse (plus an additional 1 per crit die), which hardly seems worth a fighting style. And it does absolutely nothing for weapons that are already finesse.

But throwing a flat +something on top seems boring (and steps on Dueling style's toes--or stacks too well with it). Similarly, an AC bonus would potentially stack with a shield, so that wouldn't be good.

In order to reward/compensate a player who sticks with a smaller weapon, I chose a mechanic that rewards them more often than it rewards users of larger weapons.

So, why +4 per maximized die? It can produce a large spike to the maximum damage of a hit, true. But I'll explain why I like this swingy spike in a moment.

First, let's gain some context by looking at some averages. Excluding outside sources of weapon damage dice, for the moment, a non-crit hit with a d4 weapon averages +1 per hit with this ability. A d6 averages +0.66ish. A d8 is +0.5. And a d10 is only +0.4. Each additional weapon damage die will add that number again to the average.

So, for instance, a non-crit from a dagger-wielding fluid fighter with a 20 Dex (1d4+5) would add an average of +1 to the base 7.5 for a total average of 8.5. If it were a crit, it would be 10+2=12. Using a longsword in two hands (1d10+5) adds about +0.4 to 10.5, for 10.9. A crit becomes 16+0.8=16.8.

To contrast with GWF, a style that does something similar, a d8 weapon yields an average +0.75, a d10 yields +0.8, a d12 yields +0.83ish, and a 2d6 is around a whopping +1.34 (of course, d12 and 2d6 weapons aren't useable with Fluid Fighting style) per weapon hit (and per additional weapon die--that's about +0.67 per d6).

But what about the spike damage? The bonus damage for Fluid Fighting style is intentionally swingy, but, not only that, it only kicks in when a damage die's roll is already as good as it gets. On most attacks, the bonus may not kick in at all, but when it does, it is intended to be noticeable.

So, each d4 is valued at 1, 2, or 3 for 75% of the time and 8 for 25%. Each d6 is valued 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 for 83.33ish% of the time and at 10 for 16.66ish%. Each d8 is valued 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 for 87.5% of the time and 12 for 12.5%. And each d10 is valued 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 for 90% of the time and 14 for 10%. As we can see, the maximum possible damage with a d10 weapon is still only 2 per die higher than a d12 or 2d6 weapon's maximum (and that's only if GWM isn't being used).

Okay, so what happens when you start making rerolls? If you have both this style and GWF (not an insignificant investment), they play very nicely together. And the Savage Attacker feat allows a complete reroll of the damage roll, once a turn.

In the second case, you get a little added utility (which the feat could really use) by doubling the likelihood of rolling a maximum-valued die noticeably (although, remember, only once per turn). But, that's before you roll the first time. If you choose to reroll, you reroll all weapon damage dice, which resets the probabilities to normal. Still, maybe the feat is worth taking, now. Said the dual dagger-wielding fighter/assassin.

As for GWF, the ability to reroll some damage dice while keeping the maxed ones is nice. Each d4 will have a 37.5% chance of resulting in a maximum value, instead of the normal 1 in 4 (25%). Each d6 will have around a 22.22% chance, instead of 1 in 6 (roughly 16.67%). Each d8 will have a roughly 15.63% chance, instead of 1 in 8 (12.5%). And each d10 will have a 12% chance, instead of 1 in 10 (10%).

Naturally, any adjustment to probability skews the average damage of a given die. But, for instance, going from a d4's 25% to 37.5% only changes the average bonus per die from +1 to about +1.38.

I can live with that. [/sblock]
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