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Revised Fighter

Posted by Djaii Pepper-Martens On 0 comments

Herein please find a slightly revised/updated single-class fighter for 1st edition AD&D games. The design goal of this revised fighter was to create a class more suitable to mid-level heroic campaigns that does not put it in such stark disadvantage to other fighting classes. The problem with the Cavalier imbalance is not that the Cavalier is too powerful, it is that the Fighter is not powerful enough, this revision aims to fix that.

Future versions of d20 games made the fighter class more dynamic with the addition of feats and skills, and what is detailed herein borrows liberally (but tastefully) from ideas in future editions and merges together concepts from Unearthed Arcana, Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, Wilderness Survival Guide and OGL content.

In addition to all fighter abilities as outlined in the Players Handbook and the Unearthed Arcana, revised fighters are supplemented with additional "combat abilities". This is meant to bring the fighter class into some balance with barbarians, rangers, cavaliers and paladins who each carry a number of additional abilities.

THAC0 Progression
Table I.B (pg. 74 DMG) is designed to allow fighters (and fighter sub-classes) to advance by an increase of 10% every 2 levels. The revised fighter as presented here should increase by 5% per level of experience attained as suggested in the "Special Notes" table footnote.

Proficiency and Combat Abilities for Fighters
The following table replaces the proficiency tables found in the PHB and UA. At 1st level, a fighter has 4 weapon proficiencies and one new fighter combat ability. A fighter gains weapon proficiencies and slots for combat abilities according to this table, which provides additional weapons and abilities to fighters a bit faster at lower levels. The net result at 20th level is not that much different. Additionally, high level fighters are more familiar with all fighting techniques and weapons and this familiarity reduces their general Non-Proficiency Penalty.

Level   Weapons    Ability*       NPP
 1-2           4                1          -2
   3            5                1          -2
   4            5                2          -2
   5            6                2          -2
   6            6                3          -2
 7-10         7                3          -2
11-14        8                3          -1
15-19        9                4          -1
  20+         10              4          -1
* at least this many must be fighter combat abilities, the Fighter can use weapon proficiencies to buy combat abilities if those are preferred - also specialization (and double specialization) are considered combat abilities instead of weapon proficiencies herein (example: at 1st level a fighter choose one weapon specialization, proficiency in a second weapon, combat reflexes and deflect missiles)

Attacks of Opportunity
ONLY single-class FIGHTERS get attacks of opportunity and only with weapons they are specialized in. A fighter is entitled to a number of opportunity attacks based upon their level and if they have single weapon specialization or double weapon specialization as follows (note that this follows the same progression at multiple attacks improve, summarized here):

Level     Attacks Per Melee     Opportunity Attacks*
1-6            3/2                              1
7-12          2/1                              2
13-19        5/2                              3
 20+          3/1                              4
* Single-class Fighters with Combat Reflexes can make one additional opportunity attack per melee round with a specialized weapon. Use of Deflect counts against these totals, and cannot be exceeded (example: a 10th level Fighter w. Combat Reflexes and Deflect Missiles makes 1 opportunity attack and 2 deflect missiles attempts in a round legally and can still make their regular attacks; second example: a 2nd level Fighter/2nd level Thief w. weapon specialization Long Sword + Parry + Deflect Missiles cannot make any Attacks of Opportunity but can make 1 deflect missile attempt during a melee round and can still make regular attacks).

The DM can decide not to allow a Fighter to use their attacks of opportunity if the monster has HD greater than the fighter has levels. Rangers with weapon specialization do not get these attacks of opportunity. Many different kinds of situations will provoke fighters to make an attack of opportunity, such as proximity to spell-casters in melee or an enemy's use of a missile weapon while within close combat range.

Fighter Combat Ability List
Armour Specialization
Combat Reflexes
Deflect Missiles
Great Cleave*
Improved Critical
Mounted Archery
Mounted Combat
Polearm Combat
Power Attack
Rapid X-Bow Reloading
Shield Bashing
Weapon Finesse
Weapon Specialization (Single, Double)

*use of Cleave and Great Cleave replaces the rules for "Fighting the Unskilled" that grant multiple attacks against creatures with less than a full hit die

Armour Specialization
Choose one type of armour group from this list: Chain Mail, Scale/Splint/Banded Mail, Plate Mails

With the specialized type of armour, when your character is wearing a fitted suit of the appropriate type, the armour bonus is as if the armour is +1 bonus more protective. Note that this is not a magical bonus, and any weapon specific armour attack modifiers from pg. 38 of the PHB still apply as if it is the base type of armour without this modifier. A fighter so trained can also get out of a properly constructed suit of armour in 1 combat round (instead of "many" as vaguely determined in the Survival Guides).

A fitted suit of armour must be specifically created for the character which adds +30% to the cost and requires the regular amount of time to be made (see pg. 29 of the DMG). Found magic armour is never so fitted and cannot be used in conjunction with this combat ability.

With this combat ability you can respond to sound, smell, and touch stimuli, and thus are less hampered by completely dark conditions than normal characters are.

This ability can be used whenever you cannot see, whether the reason is darkness, a blindfold, or some kind of natural or magical blindness. In these situations you suffer only a -2 on all attack and damage rolls, and saving throws, instead of the standard -4. You suffer no penalties to Armour Class because of darkness, and retain special abilities that would normally be lost in darkness (thief or ranger abilities for example).

Prerequisites: Str 13, Power Attack

If you deal a creature enough damage to make it drop (typically by dropping it to below 0 hit points or killing it), you get an immediate, extra melee attack against another creature within reach. The extra attack is with the same weapon and at the same bonus as the attack that dropped the previous creature. You can use this ability only once per round.

Combat Reflexes
Prerequisites: Single-class Fighter
You may make an additional opportunity attack per round. You can also use an attack of opportunity even during the first segment of the combat round or when you've been surprised. The honing of combat reflexes lapses if you stop training as a fighter and dual-class to another profession.

Deflect Missiles
Prerequisites: Dex 13 and one of: Combat Reflexes OR Parry

You have learned the secret of snatching arrows or parrying away bolts and the like with your weapon from a grand master. When a physical missile weapon (or similar tangible effect) scores a hit, you may immediately attempt to deflect it. The base chance to deflect missiles is 60% + 2% per Fighter level + any modifiers assigned by the DM (some attacks may be more difficult to deflect based on specific circumstances).

Great Cleave
Prerequisites: Str 13, Cleave

With this feat you can use Cleave as many times per round as you have levels in the class Fighter as long as every blow you land slays an enemy creature.

Improved Critical
Choose one type of weapon.
Prerequisite: Weapon must be a weapon of specialization (either single or double).

When using the weapon you selected and you score a natural 20 you can choose to double the variable dice damage OR inflict maximum damage for a single hit.

Mounted Archery
Prerequisites: Mounted Combat

The fighter is not against using missile weapons from horseback as a cavalier and have trained so that you can fire arrows or crossbow bolts from horseback without any penalties.

Mounted Combat
Taking this feat means that you have received training nearly equivalent to the Cavalier's mounted combat ability.

You thus have a bonus to damage equal to your fighter level of experience when using a lance while mounted. When  dismounted and using a lance, damage is +1. A heavy lance used while dismounted is treated as an awl pike with respect to all specifications except length, weight, and speed factor. A medium or light lance used while dismounted is treated as a spear.

Not quite as natural, or born to the saddle as Cavaliers, you are thrown from the saddle only 65% of the time, modified by +1% per level of experience.

Choose one type of weapon.
Prerequisite: Weapon must be a weapon of specialization (either single or double).

When using the specialized weapon you can use the same parrying ability as an equal level Cavalier.

Should a trained fighter choose to parry rather than attack, all of the “to hit” bonuses (including those due to strength, magic, and weapon of choice) can be subtracted from one attacker’s die rolls. A parrying fighter may use his or her shield to parry a second opponent’s attack; a shield parry reduces the attacker’s roll by 1, and by a further 1 for every “plus” of the shield, if it is magical. If the fighter is using a shield parry as well as a weapon parry, any further attackers beyond the second may ignore the shield bonus in determining their chances “to hit.”

If you use ANY parries then you cannot also attack in that round, even if you are capable of making multiple attacks in a single round due to weapon specialization and/or level. Using parry would also prevent you from also using Missile Deflection in the same combat round.

Polearm Combat
The fighter can spend a weapon proficiency slot or a combat ability slot to learn a group of polearms.

Upon taking this combat ability, the fighter (and the fighter only) can learn 3 related polearms with a single weapon slot (use the diagrams at the back of the Unearthed Arcana to select a set of similarly styled/used weapons). With these proficient weapons, which are gained as a group, you can fight over top of (or around) allies in order to attack foes normally out of reach. Also you can ignore the bonuses an opponent gets from any shields as if you had them flanked or were attacking from behind.

Power Attack
Prerequisite: Str 13

On your action, before making attack rolls for a round, you may choose to subtract a number from all melee attack rolls and add the same number to all melee damage rolls. This number may not exceed your levels of fighter. The penalty on attacks and bonus on damage apply until your next turn.

If you attack with a two-handed weapon, or with a one-handed weapon wielded in two hands, instead add twice the number subtracted from the attack roll. You can’t add the bonus from Power Attack to the damage dealt with 'light' weapons, which include: Bo Stick, Dagger, Footman's Mace, Footman's Pick, Hand Axe, Knife, Sickle, and Short Sword.

Rapid X-Bow Reloading
Choose a type of crossbow (hand, light, or heavy).
Prerequisite: Weapon Proficiency (with the crossbow type chosen).

The time required for you to reload your chosen type of crossbow is reduced to a very short action that can be done at the end of any round where the crossbow is discharged with no penalty.

Shield Bashing
A fighter can train to use a shield as a secondary weapon. This shield must be of the small/metal variety and must be outfitted with spikes or sharpened edges in order to be effective (which adds +30% to the cost of the shield when it is being crafted).

With a properly designed shield you can make a secondary attack with the shield immediately after scoring a hit with a primary attack. This secondary attack is made at a -2 "to hit" penalty but can add any magical pluses of the shield to the "to hit" roll. A weaponized shield inflicts d4 +strength damage modifier +any magical pluses of the shield as damage.

Weapon Finesse
Prerequisite: Weapon specialization in the light weapon being wielded. Light weapons include: Bo Stick, Dagger, Footman's Mace, Footman's Pick, Hand Axe, Knife, Sickle, and Short Sword.

With a light weapon made for a creature of your size category, you may use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on all attack rolls. This ability does not work when also using a shield but can work when a secondary weapon or item is being carried in the off-hand.

Weapon Specialization
Prerequisite: Proficiency with the weapon being specialized, or specialization with the weapon being double specialized.

A fighter can use on of their combat feats to instead specialize in a weapon they are proficient with, or double specialize in a weapon they have previously specialized with at any level beyond 1st. With a total of 4 +1 weapon/combat slots at 1st level, it is possible that a 1st level fighter could be double specialized in one weapon and specialized in a second and have no other combat feats.

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