Flexible Martial Character Improvement

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BusterBluth
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:03 pm

Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:21 pm

I had an idea for character advancement within BFRPG that I'd like to get feedback from you folks. What if characters could accrue a point to be spent on advancement per HD/level advancement and then could spend it as they see fit?

So, for example, fighters would get a point per level, while clerics every other level, and thieves accrue them every 3 levels. Magic-users, sorry ... you never get these points. I lean towards also giving fighters a bonus point at 1st level.

The points are either immediately spent upon advancement or they accrue. You can spend them on:

- Weapon Attack Bonus (1 point) - player chooses a specific weapon
- Weapon Damage Bonus (1 point) - again, spent on a specific weapon
- AC bonus with shield (1 point)
- Additional melee opponent (2 points) - any left over damage from a slain melee opponent is applied to an adjacent melee opponent, if the original attack roll would have hit
- AC bonus (2 points)
- Additional attack (4 points) - character makes an extra attack with a -5 modifier at the same time as the original attack

The costs are linear, so increasing your attack bonus with a dagger from +2 to +3 will cost you 3 points. The 'AC Bonus' costs would be by twos, so 2, 4, 6, etc. The 'Additional Attack' cost would be 4, 8, 12, etc.

Why I kinda like this? You get mechanical differentiation with characters of the same class, especially for fighters. The downside, I think, could be play balance. Maybe fighters get 2 points every 3 levels (1 then 2 then 1, etc). I know there' rules for extra attacks, weapon specialization, etc., out there for BF already; they're a little more complex than I'd like, and it'd be nice to see something more flexible, in regards to character creation.

Thoughts?
BusterBluth
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:03 pm

Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:16 pm

Nobody chimed in with an opinion on what I suggested, but in the meantime, I've been refining this more, and getting some feedback would be awesome. It makes more sense to follow along with the Attack Bonus table, and to give players the option of deviating from a standard attack bonus if they desire. Here's the house-rule I had in mind:

In order to differentiate characters of the same class, Combat Bonuses are an option for players to use towards character improvement. At a player’s discretion, Attack Bonuses can be reclassified as a more general Combat Bonus. Accruing a CB follows the same schedule as for accruing Attack Bonuses (see pg 47 of the BFRPG rulebook). Combat Bonuses can be applied differently each round on the following martial options:

Attack Bonus (cost = 1 CB, default selection): gain a +1 Attack Bonus with any weapon
Faster Reactions (cost = 1 CB): gain +2 to Initiative
Weapon Damage (cost = 1 CB): gain +1 to damage with any weapon
Weapon Specialization (cost = 1 CB): gain +1 to Attack, +1 to Damage with a specific weapon (long sword, dagger, etc), declared when this martial option is chosen. Note that a character can take Weapon Specialization more than once, either to increase the bonuses for a particular weapon or to specialize in a weapon.
Extra Opponent (cost = 1 CB): if an attack were to take down an opponent, any extra damage can be redirected to another adjacent, melee opponent; each time this bonus is taken, an extra opponent is eligible for this manuever. Note that the original attack roll has to be high enough to have hit any extra opponents. The player chooses the additional targets.
AC with Shield (cost = 1 CB): wielder gains an extra +1 to AC while wielding a shield
AC (cost = 2 CB): user gains a permanent +1 bonus to AC; this represents heightened combat awareness, better ability to roll with punches, etc. Note that this option is twice as expensive as improving AC with a shield.
Extra Stamina (cost = 2 CB): user immediately gains a temporary 1d4 hp; as soon as combat ends or the player reallocates CB to another option in a following round, these hp are subtracted.
Additional Attack (cost = 4 CB): character can make an extra attack at the same time of his initial attack; each time this bonus is taken, a cumulative -5 is added to the extra attack roll

Characters at first level cannot access every option. However, each character starts play with the ‘Attack Bonus’ option. Characters can access a new martial option every 5 levels and they begin play with a specific number of them at 1st level:

• Fighters: 3
• Clerics and Thieves: 2
• Magic-User: 1

In combat, players may switch between their selected martial options each round as desired. This reallocation is simply a change in stance in combat and is not an action. As an example, a 7th level Fighter has a +5 Attack Bonus. If this Fighter had elected to access Attack Bonus, AC, Faster Reactions, and Weapon Damage, he could spread his +5 Martial Bonus in various combinations:

• First round: +2 to Initiative, +4 to Attack
• Second round: +1 to AC, +3 to Attack
• Third round: +1 to Attack, +4 to Weapon Damage

Characters may also voluntarily incur penalties, starting at 5th level and once per 5 levels thereafter. For each -2 incurred to Attack Bonus, Weapon Damage, Initiative or to AC, the character earns 1 CB. The attack and damage penalties are general penalties and are not specific to a weapon.
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Dimirag
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Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:54 pm

I like the idea, I thought about doing something similar to your second post, but with the difference that once you purchase something, you can't change it, this makes characters like barbarians (low AB, high damage and HP), specialist (high AB and damage with specific weapon) and the like, doable on a combat style approach.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
BusterBluth
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:03 pm

Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:18 pm

Yes, it's certainly valid to make the choice permanent, which is what the 3.0+ systems do ... choose a specific mix of feats & skills. Lots of folks prefer to have this available as part of character creation. You even saw this in the 2nd ed. AD&D with the introduction of kits in all the splat books.

The reason I suggested having characters rearrange their bonuses on the fly is so that martial types have a bit more choice during combat. Games are fun when they give you meaningful decisions to make.

Maybe a slightly different tack would be that every X number of levels, instead of a new martial style to pick, you pick a specific range of things available to you in combat at specific bonuses. The more I think about this, the better I like the idea. So, in the prior example, the fighter has 3 martial styles he's developed over the course of his career and in any 1 round he can switch between only these:

• +2 to Initiative, +4 to Attack
• +1 to AC, +3 to Attack
• +1 to Attack, +4 to Weapon Damage

A different kind of fighter of the same level would likely have a different set of 3 styles, chosen from the full list of options:

• +5 to Attack
• +2 to AC, +1 to Attack
• +1 to Attack, +4 to Weapon Damage

Once they're selected, they're set, so you still get that mechanical differentiation of different types of fighters but also a set of interesting choices for a player. There's a huge number of combinations available, but by limiting the build upon leveling up, it should keep things pretty simple.

Encounters for the GM should be simple too ... just come up with appropriate ways different monsters will spend their bonuses, depending on the type of encounter. You could even introduce differentiation between different tribes of orcs, for example. Players would quickly learn what to expect in combat from the Fangchins as opposed to the Grimlock tribe!

Thanks for the idea!
BusterBluth
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:03 pm

Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:53 am

Time for a rewrite ... introducing 'Martial Styles'

In order to differentiate characters of the same class, especially fighters, Martial Styles are an option for players to use towards character improvement. Characters can access a new Martial Style every 5 levels and they begin play with a specific number of them at 1st level:

• Fighters: 3
• Clerics and Thieves: 2
• Magic-User: 1

Martial Styles are created by applying a character’s AB (‘Attack Bonus’, defined on pg 47 of the BFRPG rulebook) towards an array of different options listed here:

• Attack Bonus (cost = 1 AB, default selection): gain a +1 Attack Bonus with any weapon
• Faster Reactions (cost = 1 AB): gain +2 to Initiative
• Weapon Damage (cost = 1 AB): gain +1 to damage with any weapon
• Weapon Specialization (cost = 1 AB): gain +1 to Attack, +1 to Damage with a specific weapon (longsword, dagger, etc), declared when this martial option is chosen. Note that a character can take Weapon Specialization more than once, either to increase the bonuses for a particular weapon or to specialize in a weapon. Weapon Specialization can only be taken for a weapon once every 5 levels.
• Extra Opponent (cost = 1 AB): if an attack were to take down an opponent, any extra damage can be redirected to another adjacent, melee opponent; each time this bonus is taken, an extra opponent is eligible for this manuever. Note that the original attack roll has to be high enough to have hit any extra opponents. The player chooses the additional targets.
• AC with Shield (cost = 1 AB): wielder gains an extra +1 to AC while wielding a shield
• AC (cost = 2 AB): user gains a permanent +1 bonus to AC; this represents heightened combat awareness, better ability to roll with punches, etc. Note that this option is twice as expensive as improving AC with a shield.
• Extra Stamina (cost = 2 AB): user immediately gains a temporary 1d4 hp; as soon as combat ends or the player changes to another Martial Style in a following round, these hp are subtracted.
• Additional Attack (cost = 4 AB): character can make an extra attack at the same time of his initial attack; each time this bonus is taken, a cumulative -5 is added to the extra attack roll

First level characters always start with the following Martial Style:

• Attack Bonus + 1

For first level Magic-Users, this is their only starting Martial Style. Clerics can define a second style, while fighters get two additional ones. Note that the last 3 styles listed above are too expensive for starting characters. Also note that styles get redefined as the Attack Bonus grows. So, while a 4th level Magic User has an Attack Bonus of +2, he is also limited to a single Martial Style.He must redefine his sole Martial Style so that it is ‘Attack Bonus +2’. Redefining is simply a matter of updating the total bonus to apply. It is not allowed to remove or add options to an existing style or to replace a previously defined style.

In combat, players may switch between their Martial Styles each round as desired. This is not an action. As an example, a 7th level Fighter has a +5 Attack Bonus. He started play with 3 styles and gained a 4th after reaching 5th level. This fighter could have the following Martial Styles pre-defined:

• Attack Bonus + 5 (note that this has been redefined multiple times since 1st level)
• AC with Shield +4, Attack Bonus +1
• Attack Bonus + 1, Additional Attack
• Attack Bonus +2, Extra Opponent (3)

And, this fighter could switch between these styles at will from round to round. When this fighter’s Attack Bonus increases again at 8th level to +6, he must redefine each style by applying the +1 bonus to different options as desired. As an example, his last style could be redefined in either of 2 ways:

• Attack Bonus +3, Extra Opponent (3)
• Attack Bonus +2, Extra Opponent (4)
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Dimirag
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Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:16 pm

Maybe its written and escaped my eyes, at every 5 levels, when you get to learn a new style, you get to use your full AB for purchase purposes right?

This idea remind me of the Combat Styles special ability of Errant RPG's fighters
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
BusterBluth
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 6:03 pm

Re: Flexible Martial Character Improvement

Post Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:41 pm

Yes, the full attack bonus gets applied; whenever you get an additional bonus from leveling up, just redefine the styles. Add that bonus to whatever option you want in each style.
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