D&D General Weekly Wrecana : A New Division of Martial aka Martial Power through the editions

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In Memorum : Mark Monack - Wrecan
A New Division of Martial



My most current blog series is Long Division, a theoretical reorganization of power sources, classes, archetypes, and subclasses. In my last article on the topic, I suggested a a new division of magic. In this article, I discuss the organization of martial power.
Divisions are necessary to ensure that classes have distinct identities. I divided magic based on the effects they can generate as it is a natural division and, given the historical use of power sources, more or less how magic has been divided in all of the prior editions. Divisions are just as necessary in martial classes. We could simply have a single class called "Fighting Man" (and that's how the game started) who can use any weapon wear any armor, and is simply distinguished by the gear and feats that can let him be a sneaky backstabber, a stalwart defender, or a brash duelist. But D&D; has not, ultimately, chosen that route. It demands a variety of classes, each with their own bailiwick.
For martial, however, it makes little sense to divide classes on the type of effects that can be generated. Unlike magic, martial classes are limited in the types of effects that it can cause, because martial classes are, at least at lower levels, expected to comport with the sort of fantasy heroics that a nonmagic character might be expected to pull off. While this isn't necessarily limited to things that are actually physically possible, it is limited to what is generally considered physically possible.

A History of Martial

First, let's look at how martial classes have been distinguished in prior editions.
Original D&D;
In OD&D;, there was one martial class: the fighting man. He could use any weapon and any armor, and pretty much was allowed to improvise anything the DM felt was reasonable given that he was the only class that didn't have any magical powers. There was no martial distinction in original D&D.;
Basic D&D;
In Basic D&D;, there were three classes: fighting man, dwarf, and thief. There wasn't much functional difference between the fighter and dwarf. They could use any armor and weapon (and were presumed to seek out the biggest armor and weapons) and got the best hit points. The thief, in contrast, used light weapons, had terrible hp, and wore light armor. Here we see the first division of martial classes. One is strong, which means heavy armor and weapons and poor mobility, and the other dextrous, which means light armor and weapons and good mobility.
AD&D; (1e)
In 1e, we get four martial classes: fighter, thief, assassin, and monk. The monk had supernatural powers, but these were generally considered to be martial powers that grew to supernatural extents through training. In that sense, they were the forerunner of "impossible" martial exploits we will see in the end of Third Edition and throughout Fourth Edition.
We've doubled the martial classes, but the distinction remains: the fighter is strong, and the thief, assassin, and monk are dextrous. In fact, most of what distinguishes the thief, assassin, and monk from one another are the weapons they use and their incidental abilities. All are highly mobile, lightly armored, and use light weapons. The thief is sneakier, the assassin gets paid and has a few more deadly attacks, and the monk get Asian-themed noncombat abilities, like immunity to disease and unaging.
With Unearthed Arcana, we also get the barbarian and thief-acrobat. The thief-acrobat is a less stealthy, more agile thief. The barbarian introduces the third martial fighting style: light armor and heavy weapons.
AD&D; (2e)
In 2e, we get two martial classes again: fighter and thief. The monk, assassin, barbarian, and thief-acrobat are gone, and will only appear as variations of these two classes in kits. The barbarian's fighting style is gone, and we are back to heavy (fighter) vs. light (thief).
D&D; (3e)
3e returns the three fighting styles last seen in Unearthed Arcana. The edition starts with four martial classes: fighter, rogue, barbarian, and monk (not including all the NPC classes). Supplements add some new purely martial classes, like the the knight, marshal, samurai, scout, and swashbuckler. At the end of the edition, the Tome of Battle sourcebook adds classes like the crusader, swordsage, and warblade.
Most of these classes, however, are simply variants on the three basic fighting styles of heavy armor/heavy weapon (fighter, knight, crusader, and warblade), light armor/heavy weapon (barbarian, samurai, and swordsage), and light armor/light weapon (rogue, monk, scout, and swashbuckler). Each class may have gotten some flavorful abilities, but each basic concept fits into one of these three styles.
Third Edition also gave us our fourth fighting style in the marshal, a class that only appeared in the obscure Miniatures Handbook. The marshal had armor and weapon proficiencies, but these were somewhat irrelevant to the core class concept, which was using strategy and verbal inspiration to boost allies.
D&D; (4e)
4e continued with these four fighting styles. In fact, the game starts with four martial classes that correspond to the four fighting styles established in Third: fighter (heavy armor/heavy weapon), rogue (light armor/light weapon), ranger (light armor/heavy weapon), and warlord (leader). Essentials converted these classes to subclasses of similar archetypes (weapon master, thief, ranger, and marshal) and the new classes that were introduced fit into these same styles. 4e did not introduce a new fighting style (though it brought the leader-style to the forefront with the Warlord).
Should future editions continue the tradition of these four fighting styles? I think they should, though, as I did for magic, I think the martial power source would benefit from a more intentional division among these styles, as well as an expansion.

A New Division

In the fantasy novels, myths, videogames, tv series, and films that make up the source material from which D&D; draws, weapon-users' styles are most often based on their most prominent physical attributes. Burly men use big weapons that deal more force. Short wiry fighters use light, quick weapons, and maneuverability. Smart warriors fight strategically.
This makes sense. People play to their strengths and this feels natural in fantasy fiction. However, in D&D;, characters don't begin with strengths (unless you randomly roll attributes). Players choose what they want to play and then give the hero the attributes he needs to fulfill that vision. Nevertheless, D&D; should follow the tradition of building martial classes around the primary attributes of the PC.
Normally, fighting men have one of two main Abilities. The heavy weapon users take Strength and the light and ranged weapon users take Dexterity. I propose unshackling martial classes from these Abilities. Instead, I would require all martial classes to take minimum Strength of 13 to represent the physical strength necessary to weild any wepons in the arduous conditions of fantasy combat. Characters who choose a class where Strength is primary would also need a Dex 13 to make the Ability requirements balanced. (Magic-using classes would have similar requirements, giving a primary Ability and a secondary threshold Ability that must be at least 13.)
But once this minimum threshold is met, the class one chooses should be based on your character's primary Ability. More precisely, the character's primary Ability will be determined by the fighting style that the player chooses for the character. Each of the six Abilities will be assigned a fighting style that plays to the traits associated with that Ability. In addition, each fighting style may have a variety of subclasses, builds, or what have you. A diagram of the Abilities, and their associated styles, classes and subclasses follows:

A short description of each of these fighting styles may be helpful. As you can see, each class has three subclasses/builds. One build will be primarily defensive in nature. (This build usually has "guard" or "mark" in the title.) A second build will be primarily offensive in nature. The third build utilizes a specialized form of equipment. Of course, as the game develops, additional builds may be introduced.
Two-Handed Fighting (Fighter/Strength). The strong wield weapons that best rely on muscles, and two muscled hands are better than one. Fighters can carry the heavy armor, but not shields, as they need both hands free for their weapon. The defensive vanguard uses his mighty reach to keep people at bay, while the more aggressive warrior concentrates on lopping people in two. Another variant for this class is the pikeman, who uses polearms to obtain additional reach.


Armor and Shield (Sentinel/Constitution). The "sword-n-board" style goes to the combatant who can heft a heavy shield as well as a weapon over and over. This class wears the toughest armor and wields the biggest weapon one can lift with a single hand. The defensive guardian uses his shield to protect himself and his allies as a living wall. The knight, in contrast, is a living juggernaut, using his heavily armored frame to barrel through enemies. Another variant for this class is the armorier, who employs weaponized armor, utilizing shield bashing and armor spikes to maximum utility.


Two-Weapon (Rogue/Dexterity). It takes a nimble hand (well, two) to control two weapons at once. The dextrous rogue will use light armor to maximize the agility needed to avoid blows, while striking with light weapons that can be quickly drawn and employed at dizzying speeds. The defensive blackguard often one weapon to parry a blow while the other thrusts. The offensive scoundrel is adept at finding openings in opponents' defenses. A variant of this class would be the acrobat, who uses double-weapons rather than two weapons, for a different style of effects. The staff, for example, may allow the rogue to vault about the battlefield.


Versatile (Weapon Master/Intelligence). The smart fighters can change tactics to address the weaknesses of opponents as well as playing to their own strengths. The weapon master favors flexibility in gear, using medium armor that maximizes flexibility and protection, along with defensive grieves and bucklers, and versatile weapons that can be used either one-handed or two-handed as the situation demands. Truly, however, the weapon master's weapon is the enemy itself. The defensive avant-garde gets into the enemy's mindset, countering and anticipating attacks even before the enemy consciously chooses to employ them. The more aggressive duelist uses the enemies' own strengths against them, causing them to overreach and create openings. A variant of this class will be the fencer, who specializes in feints and misdirection to get the enemy to attack itself and one another, thus weilding the enemy as a veritable weapon against itself.


Ranged (Ranger/Wisdom). The best archers are those with a keen eye to match their steady hand. The ranged attacker wears more mobile light armor because distance is the best defense, and wields light weapons to be drawn quickly in case an enemy manages to close. Primarily, the ranger specializes in ranged weaponry. The defensive marksman uses suppressive fire to foil the enemies' advance and precise shots to interfere with their attacks. The offensive sniper devastates the enemy with fatally accurate artillery fire. A variant on this class would be the gadgeteer who uses exotic ammunition to increase the variety of attacks available to it.


Allies (Warlord/Charisma). It is said a barbarian wields axes, but a warlord wields barbarians. The warlord may wear any armor and use any weapon with proficiency, but will more effectively offer assistance and counsel to allies in order to better address the enemy. The preceptor keeps allies out of harm's way by anticipating enemy strategies and outmaneuvering them. The marshal musters allies to coordinate deadly assaults and offensives against the enemy. A variant on this class may be a cavalier who can turn his and his allies' mounts and other companions into deadlier weapons and more effective defenders.
Culture Shock

I think people will find that this division of classes is even more intuitive than what I chose for magic classes. However, some of my choices for nomenclature may raise eyebrows. For example, "blackguard" is now the name of a rogue subclass/build, rather than the shadow-powered antipaladin of 3e and 4e. First of all, I think the name "blackguard", as actually used in English, describes a rogue better than an anti-paladin. Second, I like that the defensive builds mostly have "mark" or "guard" in the name, to make it easier to identify.

The biggest change is that the rogue, and not the ranger, is the two-weapon fighter. I understand that this is likely to get the harshest criticism, especially from fans of a certain scimitar-wielding dark elf. But the whole purpose of this exercise is to make the division of classes consistent. Rangers being both two-weapon fighters and ranged fighters was always a hodgepodge of abilities born from a clumsy attempt to make a single class that could shoot like Legolas and fight with two torches against the ringwraiths on Weathertop like Aragorn. This would have been a minor point if Mr. Do'Urden hadn't cemented the idea of a two-weapon fighting drow ranger into the geeky zeitgeist. I think, however, it is worth rebuilding Drizz't as a scoundrel instead of a ranger in order to keep the classes more distinct and easier to design and define.

You may also notice that I do not address unarmed combat. I do think there's a place for unarmed combat, but I don't think it's here. Instead, I plan to have a future article to discuss the Division of Weapons, and unarmed combat will be discussed there.
In the next article, we'll merge martial and magic with a discussion of "gish" characters.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
"In 1e, we get four martial classes: fighter, thief, assassin, and monk. The monk had supernatural powers, but these were generally considered to be martial powers that grew to supernatural extents through training. In that sense, they were the forerunner of "impossible" martial exploits we will see in the end of Third Edition and throughout Fourth Edition. "

Reinforcing when I say the Monk/Martial Artist class is or Ought to be Martial in some fashion I am coming from this perspective .... it was the progenitor of edgy martial powers that were mostly embraced for 4e, and shunting it off to psionic though it makes some sense if one is simulating the Dragon ball Z blastem up archetype this was not the D&D monk.

Arguably two other classes which were significantly martial in 1e Mark didnt mention were the Ranger and Paladin (the paladin were less martial in the sense that they began with magical gifts and had a well defined source for those gifts it gains its plusplus from the divine). At higher level the both the Paladin (a super class) and Ranger (a tough class almost super) were actually Gish at higher levels with prayers and spells.

I very much agree with the Ranger as Martial and even the Paladin as divine (sans proper embracing of the Divine Boons). 4es Divine boons are almost enough by themselves to cover the Paladins lower level ability assuming a somewhat generous DM. Further the ability to multi class and take rituals regardless of class could cover these latter two even if they didnt have explicit classes a Warlord with the rangery martial practices or even rituals covers the Original Ranger.
 


I think the exclusion of the Paladin and Ranger (and the Bard) from the AD&D discussions is a pretty large omission. I'm not sure why he did that either, as it simply extends the concept of 'heavy weapons/light armor' back to 1e, which describes the ranger perfectly. Paladins don't add much to the discussion admittedly. The Bard is half-magical and all rogue, so perhaps doesn't really add much. Still, it was an odd omission.

Anyway, I feel the the whole scheme is at least a bit forced. I don't like that. IMHO classes should really be organic expressions of thematic concepts, not checkboxes in some diagram. I appreciated that the 4e devs never simply invented a class to 'fill a slot', they always had some pretty solid thematic concept behind it, and they gave it the role and power source that theme demanded.

I can see reasoning like "every sort of gifted person might become a kind of fighter", but I don't really see how wise people are excellent shots with a bow, sorry.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
but I don't really see how wise people are excellent shots with a bow, sorry.
Surely being nimble and agile has nothing to do with archery. (sarcasm)

Are you going to argue perception has nothing to do with archery or disciplined practie ;)

I do not have any issue with Wisdom being an archery stat, Its called Zen archery and has real life little old man practitioners.

"Kyudo is contemplative archery, known as the 'Way of the Bow.' Centuries ago in Japan, archery was considered the most accomplished discipline of a Samurai warrior. As archery lost its prominence as a lethal weapon among the Samurai and influenced by Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism, it became known as Kyudo, the "Way of the Bow" - a powerful contemplative practice."en

Plus if you arent strong enough for the bow keeping your arm steady is tough there should be bows with strength pre-requisites and while hunting staying ready is and aware is more important also Arching the Shot is an act of estimating and angles and performing at differing ranges is tied somewhat related to "have you practiced at those ranges"
(we could definitely say all long ranged archery uses the wisdom stat. and snap shots use the strength stat etc etc etc)

Speaking of wisdom as the dominant "do you practice regularly" and maintain your regimen stat which affects just about any skill if you wan it to.
WHICH kind of coolish could be the stat of Martial Grandmaster trainings ;) that are maintained by regimen.
Divine boons could then be related to Charisma...


I think over narrow interpretation of statistics does the game a disservice
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think the exclusion of the Paladin and Ranger (and the Bard) from the AD&D discussions is a pretty large omission. I'm not sure why he did that either, as it simply extends the concept of 'heavy weapons/light armor' back to 1e, which describes the ranger perfectly. Paladins don't add much to the discussion admittedly. The Bard is half-magical and all rogue, so perhaps doesn't really add much. Still, it was an odd omission. .

i think he lumped them in to his Gish categorization... but I do agree given he wanted to discuss how weapons and armor grouping were used it does seem a big omission
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I made an accelerated Weekly Wrecana to present his Gish set which included Paladins... and umm yeh he lumped rangers there too
 

Surely being nimble and agile has nothing to do with archery. (sarcasm)

Are you going to argue perception has nothing to do with archery or disciplined practie ;)

I do not have any issue with Wisdom being an archery stat, Its called Zen archery and has real life little old man practitioners.

"Kyudo is contemplative archery, known as the 'Way of the Bow.' Centuries ago in Japan, archery was considered the most accomplished discipline of a Samurai warrior. As archery lost its prominence as a lethal weapon among the Samurai and influenced by Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism, it became known as Kyudo, the "Way of the Bow" - a powerful contemplative practice."en

Plus if you arent strong enough for the bow keeping your arm steady is tough there should be bows with strength pre-requisites and while hunting staying ready is and aware is more important also Arching the Shot is an act of estimating and angles and performing at differing ranges is tied somewhat related to "have you practiced at those ranges"
(we could definitely say all long ranged archery uses the wisdom stat. and snap shots use the strength stat etc etc etc)

Speaking of wisdom as the dominant "do you practice regularly" and maintain your regimen stat which affects just about any skill if you wan it to.
WHICH kind of coolish could be the stat of Martial Grandmaster trainings ;) that are maintained by regimen.
Divine boons could then be related to Charisma...


I think over narrow interpretation of statistics does the game a disservice

Well, now you are into a deep subject. See, I too overthought RPGs at one time. You can of course easily convince yourself the obvious truth that 6 ability scores are far too crude to capture the subtle factors that go into making people good at various things, etc. I wouldn't even dream of arguing this point. The problem is that RPG characters are intended to be strong and fairly obvious archetypes, CARICATURES NOT DEEP CHARACTER STUDIES. Thus the game is best served by strong fighters with big weapons, quick rogues with light weapons, stout rangers with steady hands and great perception, paladins with inspiring personalities, wizards with tall foreheads, etc.

It just doesn't serve the end goal of the game to start nitpicking into things so much and over think character design until it becomes obtuse because it begins to serve some philosophical agenda instead of its primary function, quickly and simply classifying characters into a few general bins that facilitate rapid generalization.

Wrecan's parsing of the class space in this and its companion articles is IMHO a classic example of what not to do. Its INTERESTING, and I'm not putting it down. I think its one of those kinds of exercises you do when you think about designing a game, but this is definitely a version of things that I would then discard.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Well, now you are into a deep subject. See, I too overthought RPGs at one time. You can of course easily convince yourself the obvious truth that 6 ability scores are far too crude to capture the subtle factors that go into making people good at various things, etc. I wouldn't even dream of arguing this point.

A conclusion i reached in 1978 or 79 ;)


It just doesn't serve the end goal of the game to start nitpicking into things so much and over think character design until it becomes obtuse because it begins to serve some philosophical agenda instead of its primary function, quickly and simply classifying characters into a few general bins that facilitate rapid generalization.

I typed this largely to point to potential very picky interpretation.... hence the etc etc etc ;)
Garthanos said:
Plus if you arent strong enough for the bow keeping your arm steady is tough there should be bows with strength pre-requisites and while hunting staying ready is and aware is more important also Arching the Shot is an act of estimating and angles and performing at differing ranges is tied somewhat related to "have you practiced at those ranges"
(we could definitely say all long ranged archery uses the wisdom stat. and snap shots use the strength stat etc etc etc)

HOWEVER I think within that there was support for both the Warlord using a strength style archery and other characters using a wisdom style (we officially have priests using it could very reasonably be opened to others) and while I didnt mention the support for it still others using a dex style.

I think broad interpretation allows me to have my cake and eat it to...a relatively simple result where "style" is the broad brush strokes single attribute used by the particular character.
 

Igwilly

First Post
Overall, I like the concept. Dividing martial characters per fighting style seems solid; I just don’t know about the exact division by ability scores. I have some comments about it:
Dual-wielding rogues was something new to Wrecan, I guess, but not to me right now. I remember this motif with Final Fantasy XIV, Dragon Age: Inquisition and some fan-made table-top systems of the former. I had this concept in mind since the 4e PHB, by a rogue’s paragon path: daggermaster, I guess. It makes sense. And, of course, Ninjas surely use the style.
1) I liked the idea of an Int-heavy warrior. As a certain coacher says “I know you‘re the smartest guys in this school, and this counts more than anything else” (of course, he got crushed, but that’s because you need actual training for that smartness to be effective). Anyway, it’s a good idea.
2) Wisdom for Rangers make sense too; at least, on how wisdom is defined in D&D.
3) I don’t know about making those attributes the main ones. As secondary attributes is easy to grasp, but as main ones… I’ll need some time to think about it.
4) There’s a style that often gets unmentioned in those divisions: the single-handed style. Wielding a one-handed weapon in one hand, and nothing in the other. It may sound silly that the warrior is not using all hands, but it’s cool, and reminds me of swashbuckler, gunblade, rapiers, Squall, Lightning, Pathfinder’s Magus with one sword in hand and the other to cast spells, and so on. It’s just cool. I think the Weapon Master expands on this style, but I felt essential to say it anyway.
The “flaw” is the feeling that every class can fill every role. It’s a feature, not a flaw, but which classes fulfill which roles is part of the class game for me.
 

HOWEVER I think within that there was support for both the Warlord using a strength style archery and other characters using a wisdom style (we officially have priests using it could very reasonably be opened to others) and while I didnt mention the support for it still others using a dex style.

I think broad interpretation allows me to have my cake and eat it to...a relatively simple result where "style" is the broad brush strokes single attribute used by the particular character.

I think it can work, though IMHO it would have been cooler if it wasn't necessary to set it up that way. This is why your weapon primarily determines the stat used for attack bonuses in HoML. A warlord can simply have a good DEX and pick up a bow and that's fine. You'd still need to designate some powers to exploit using a bow, but as a martial character there's plenty of powers in the martial list that work with bows... Beyond that, various boons can jack you into other ones if you need more.

So in my system characters aren't much hindered in terms of what weapon they want to use, though a fighter that insists on being primarily a bow user may run into thematic coherency issues that manifest in a mechanical fashion (IE his mark punishment mechanic isn't going to work so well, though he will have a nice way to mark most anyone on the board).
 

Overall, I like the concept. Dividing martial characters per fighting style seems solid; I just don’t know about the exact division by ability scores. I have some comments about it:
Dual-wielding rogues was something new to Wrecan, I guess, but not to me right now. I remember this motif with Final Fantasy XIV, Dragon Age: Inquisition and some fan-made table-top systems of the former. I had this concept in mind since the 4e PHB, by a rogue’s paragon path: daggermaster, I guess. It makes sense. And, of course, Ninjas surely use the style.
1) I liked the idea of an Int-heavy warrior. As a certain coacher says “I know you‘re the smartest guys in this school, and this counts more than anything else” (of course, he got crushed, but that’s because you need actual training for that smartness to be effective). Anyway, it’s a good idea.
2) Wisdom for Rangers make sense too; at least, on how wisdom is defined in D&D.
3) I don’t know about making those attributes the main ones. As secondary attributes is easy to grasp, but as main ones… I’ll need some time to think about it.
4) There’s a style that often gets unmentioned in those divisions: the single-handed style. Wielding a one-handed weapon in one hand, and nothing in the other. It may sound silly that the warrior is not using all hands, but it’s cool, and reminds me of swashbuckler, gunblade, rapiers, Squall, Lightning, Pathfinder’s Magus with one sword in hand and the other to cast spells, and so on. It’s just cool. I think the Weapon Master expands on this style, but I felt essential to say it anyway.
The “flaw” is the feeling that every class can fill every role. It’s a feature, not a flaw, but which classes fulfill which roles is part of the class game for me.

Yeah, I think it might work better to have six secondary stats, one for each stat, vs primary. You could STILL have STR, DEX, and CON work as primaries. In fact HoML pretty much works this way, you have a weapon, which uses one of STR, DEX, or CON as its ability score, and then every martial class has some sort of secondary stat. So you might be using large two-handed weapons with STR, and be a Ranger with WIS as your secondary. In that case it works pretty close to how 4e works now. You could also be a DEX ranger and favor bows and light weapons, but you could use the same POWERS with either build, as the power doesn't dictate a stat (though they may favor certain secondaries, and may well only work with a subset of weapons, which could effectively make a few powers fairly well tied to a given stat).

4e DOES have a 'single handed' build, the brawler fighter, who can profitably wield a weapon in one hand and grab with the other. In general though 4e follows life here. A guy with nothing but a rapier is really never better off than a guy who's got a buckler or parrying blade in the off hand, even if he very rarely employs it for much. Such seems to have been historically the case as well, as during the heyday of light swords most people that went armed also carried an off-hand weapon/defense.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
4e DOES have a 'single handed' build, the brawler fighter, who can profitably wield a weapon in one hand and grab with the other. In general though 4e follows life here. A guy with nothing but a rapier is really never better off than a guy who's got a buckler or parrying blade in the off hand, even if he very rarely employs it for much. Such seems to have been historically the case as well, as during the heyday of light swords most people that went armed also carried an off-hand weapon/defense.

It is probably historic and realistic ... which is usually a meh reason to do things if they have fantasy running contrary to it, but hey.

i can anecdotally argue that the two handed weapon use is better all around and even better for defense... unless the enemy has gone full sword and board ;), in which case I suspect it can be a toss up.
 

It is probably historic and realistic ... which is usually a meh reason to do things if they have fantasy running contrary to it, but hey.

i can anecdotally argue that the two handed weapon use is better all around and even better for defense... unless the enemy has gone full sword and board ;), in which case I suspect it can be a toss up.

I'd say they are about even. A nice halberd is a fine defensive weapon and quite evenly matched against any other weapon choice, as is a great sword, etc.

As for 'fantasy running contrary to it', I'm not sure it does to any great degree. I mean, if you go peruse old hack-n-slash scenes, there's a lot of guys with a dagger in the off hand, or doing something interesting with that hand anyway, its rarely ignored. I liked the concept of 'throw and stab' that the MP2 ranger has. That was a good way to give the off hand something interesting to do.

Honestly though, overall I thought 4e should have stuck to the concept that having an off-hand weapon could give you a defense and/or damage bonus. It was a small edge, but worthwhile, and yet one you could also forgo without any big issue if you wanted to use the hand for something else entirely.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I'd say they are about even. A nice halberd is a fine defensive weapon and quite evenly matched against any other weapon choice, as is a great sword, etc.

As for 'fantasy running contrary to it', I'm not sure it does to any great degree.
I agree I was just establishing ONE paradigm for ignoring historic things entirely.

I have found that the offhand weapon lacks leverage and speed to such a great degree and introduces complexity to usage that a nice longsword or Katana will chew em up but it is pretty much even with even reasonable shield use and It may just be that making the offhand weapon properly coordinate is hard enough that it looses out and this I would actually guess it too may not occur with someone well trained in that fighting style. (and my anecdotes are so far from being data)
 

I agree I was just establishing ONE paradigm for ignoring historic things entirely.

I have found that the offhand weapon lacks leverage and speed to such a great degree and introduces complexity to usage that a nice longsword or Katana will chew em up but it is pretty much even with even reasonable shield use and It may just be that making the offhand weapon properly coordinate is hard enough that it looses out and this I would actually guess it too may not occur with someone well trained in that fighting style. (and my anecdotes are so far from being data)

lol, I am no more an expert than you are.

I thought the whole TWD/TWO feat pair was a good way to convey the whole thing. If you ARE trained in it, then its a good option, otherwise it doesn't really help and you should get a shield (which also requires training, but you may already HAVE that at least).
 

Igwilly

First Post
Realism is a very secondary concern to me. Sure, when it improves gameplay, it’s a welcome addition; but style, feel, and awesomeness are more important. Style and awesomeness tell me that this swashbuckler with a broadsword in one hand and nothing on the other is a fearsome opponent. I still have to see the 4e Brawler Fighter; I missed up Martial Power 2, but I’ll read it, sometime.
In addition, not everyone needs to be a master of this style. It’s perfectly fine for most classes to ignore it and go with something else. I just think this style needs a specialist that ends up being as good as other specialists.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Realism is a very secondary concern to me. Sure, when it improves gameplay, it’s a welcome addition; but style, feel, and awesomeness are more important. Style and awesomeness tell me that this swashbuckler with a broadsword in one hand and nothing on the other is a fearsome opponent. I still have to see the 4e Brawler Fighter; I missed up Martial Power 2, but I’ll read it, sometime.
In addition, not everyone needs to be a master of this style. It’s perfectly fine for most classes to ignore it and go with something else. I just think this style needs a specialist that ends up being as good as other specialists.
Highly recommend that one the brawling fighter drips with flavor

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Realism is a very secondary concern to me. Sure, when it improves gameplay, it’s a welcome addition; but style, feel, and awesomeness are more important. Style and awesomeness tell me that this swashbuckler with a broadsword in one hand and nothing on the other is a fearsome opponent. I still have to see the 4e Brawler Fighter; I missed up Martial Power 2, but I’ll read it, sometime.
Highly recommend that one the brawling fighter drips with flavor
I'll second that, I've played a few brawling fighters, they add a little depth over the typical fighter, for me, and are fun for the sheer crazy things you can do with some of the powers meant for them. I'd also poach powers meant for the tempest build, since a free hand is a free hand... ;) One of them was a one-off guest character in a regular campaign, his schtick was that he as an ambassador sent by a rival family, and was enjoined from carrying weapons.
 

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