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Oh, I get it now, Fighters /should/ have spells.
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tussock
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Oh, I get it now, Fighters /should/ have spells. Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So I was doing one of those exploratory essay things about the benefits and problems of classic Vancian spellcasting. Basically (a couple thousand words later) it's all good. The main issues are option paralysis from the over-sized cleric spell list and sheer number of prepared spells at higher levels, for which there are obvious (if lengthy) solutions.

But then it hit me. 3e combat feats are Fighter spells, like an all-day buff you can't change out. Have been since we got Specialisation and more as Weapon Proficiency options. The only difference in 3e is that the slots are all 1st level, maybe a few 2nd and 3rd level ones in later books.

So when a Wizard has 32+ spells up to 9th level, the Fighter has 18 spells mostly at 1st level. That's not good. Fighters should have higher level "feat" slots, that they can put higher level "feats" into. Like fast healing 2, or DR 5/- while in heavy armour, or scare everyone up to 6 HD in line of sight as a swift action, or burrow 10' in substances with a hardness no higher than your Str mod.

Just have them all usable at-will or always-on (give or take), conceivably "extraordinary" rather than "supernatural", and not normally changeable. They'd only need about a bard progression and 2 slots per level max to keep up.


I know, right. Tome of Awesome, Bo9S Maneuvers, 4e Powers. They all tried that and I didn't like it much. But Bo9S added all sorts of supernatural stuff (I'm OK with Iron Heart and Stone Dragon) with crazy activation complexity for no reason and just flat out calling it sword magic. 4e uses the same mechanics as their actual magic, where spells do the same things and also called "powers". Tome? I don't like 2-round fights, particularly not against demon lords, but yeah, kinda already does all this and a bag of crisps.
Better fluff, people, it helps. Alternate mechanics and all.


Wizard Spells (daily basics). Psionic Powers (fatigue). Fighter Feats (always ready). Rogue Tricks (skill checks). Just all tiered for selection by level, because that probably doesn't make Psionics alone less stupid.
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Seerow
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You're an idiot.


Just so you can see how much of an idiot you are, consider the Wizard in addition to the spell slots you listed, ALSO has 12 feats of his own.

Higher level feats aren't the answer. They're never the answer. They never will be the answer. You are like the 20,000th person to stumble upon this idea of making feats awesome, unfortunately everyone else has already realized it's a fucking bullshit way to try to handle anything.
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Sashi
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The problem with high-level feats is two fold, and evinced in your own post:

Quote:
Just have them all usable at-will or always-on (give or take), conceivably "extraordinary" rather than "supernatural", and not normally changeable.


Spells being "changeable" is a huge advantage. Being able to spec as a fire mage on Monday and a Necromancer on Tuesday is a big par of why Wizard > Sorcerer, and having to fluff all the effects as "extraordinary" rather than "supernatural" is the reason why fighters currently only get effects around spell level 2.

To put it more succinctly, your entire point is "People need to stop complaining about fighters being Goku". Good luck with that.


Last edited by Sashi on Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

how about chi for monks.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, you got two big problems here. The first is that having all of your abilities be usable at-will means that you necessarily have a smaller total list. And this means that even if you are able to put the hurt on level appropriate opposition or have abilities that are useful in a lot of circumstances, you still aren't as good as a wizard. Look at the Rogue. Look at him hard. Yes, he can inflict massive damage and take out level appropriate opposition. Yes, he has the ability to sneak around and kill enemies on surprise rounds - the only mundane fighting style where it is possible to accomplish jack shit against an enemy who can cast force cage. And you know what? He still isn't very good. He's playable in a Wizard party, he has the only set of mundane shticks that is playable in a wizard party - but he still isn't a wizard and he still feels small in the pants in the over-10s levels.

Secondly, look at the pushback you admitted to having over Book of 9 Swords Maneuvers or 4e Powers. These abilities aren't powerful, many of them aren't even interesting, but you're pushing back on them because they aren't mundane enough. The fact is that there is exactly one mundane fighting style that can compete in any way with a Wizard who knows Force Cage: it's called sneaking up behind the Wizard and stabbing him in the back so hard that he drops before he gets a chance to cast Force Cage. Seriously, that's it. Anything else you could possibly do to not get shut out of the battle permanently by Force Cage is by definition not mundane.

And Force Cage isn't even the beginning or the end of this problem - just the most cut and dried. Even Sir Ganks-a-Lot isn't going to win against a Wizard with a Six Demon Bag. Yeah, he might put the Wizard or one of the demons down for the count with his backstab, but then he's standing in the middle of a circle of a bunch of demons. If the Wizard is also invisible, or flying around, what is Sir Ganks-a-Lot going to do?

The harsh reality is that Mad Martigan wasn't able to do jack shit against Bavmorda, only spellcasters and trickery did fuck all. You cannot conceptually get anywhere in a battle that is even mid-level in D&D terms if you only have Vanilla Action Hero stunts to draw upon. And if the guy who sneaks up behind the Wizard and stabs them in the back before they can cast a spell is another class? You're fucked before you write up a single ability.

If Fighters are to be a thing, they need to Prestige Class into Demigods and get actual magical demigodly abilities. Need. Not want.

-Frank
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Red_Rob
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, our Tome game is currently at level 10 and already the Samurai and Barbarian are relying pretty heavily on Freedom of Movement and Flight buffs from the Mage during battles. Out of fights? Well, lets say their contribution to the recent challenges of "survive the trip to the Flame Lords Court" and "Find a way to Hell to follow up on a lead" involved suggesting ways the Wizard and Druid could use their spells.

Warriors need prestige classes after level 8-10 that give them powers comparable to Wonder boy, like the power of Flight, or killing a yak from 50 yards away with Mind Bullets. Looking around there don't seem to be many that have gone in this direction, perhaps I'll look at putting some together for our group.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Red Rob wrote:
Out of fights? Well, lets say their contribution to the recent challenges of "survive the trip to the Flame Lords Court" and "Find a way to Hell to follow up on a lead" involved suggesting ways the Wizard and Druid could use their spells.


That's a whole other issue, but it's a pretty damn important one. Combat encounters can indeed be solved by having a character be sneaky or fast enough on the draw that they are able to land the first punch, and good enough at punching that they can juggle or KO an opponent before they are able to get off their own super abilities. But there are a lot of obstacles that can't be punched at all. And I don't just mean that there are obstacles like "hundreds of feet of stone" that you'll never be able to convince any DM are punchable problems in any sort of mundane idiom - but that there are problems like "you don't know something important" and "there is empty space and/or actual dimensions between you and the goal" that are not even punchable by Superman.

A sword technique can be arbitrarily effective at cutting off heads and it can be arbitrarily effective at clearing rooms full of mooks. It is trivial to make a sword technique that is as good as cone of cold or finger of death. But it's never going to be as good as dimension door, plane shift, or legend lore. Because those spells solve problems that cannot conceptually be dealt with by a sword swing. No matter how awesome or deadly that sword swing is, it simply isn't going to elicit information or take you where you need to go.

-Frank
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tussock
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
ALSO has 12 feats of his own.

Oh, that's a whole 'nother rant, how 3e turned a whole lot of mid to high level spells into feats that the Wizard gets basically for free at lower levels, while also giving them more spell slots and faster level and spell progression up high, and easier casting, better defences, unlimited spell acquisition, .... Thanks, Monte.

Quote:
Anything else you could possibly do to not get shut out of the battle permanently by Force Cage is by definition not mundane.

A Bow? Oh, you mean the solid one. Yeah, I guess, but if the Wizard gets a no-save anti-fighter spell at 13th level then my Fighter can get an anti-Wizard no-save fighter feat at 13th level too. Spell resistance (yes, forcecage allows SR, fuck what the book says), saves vs spells with no save, or just beating a really big break DC because you've got +50. That's sort of how you balance out ideas like this, isn't it?

I mean, I'm not talking about Iron Heart getting +100 damage as a standard action as a 9th level power 1/combat (because that's crap), I'm talking about powers that really compare with 6th-7th level Cleric, Wizard, and Druid spells. Clone. Statue. Insanity. True Seeing. Solid Fog. Not written like the spells, just, gain full hit points if killed, perfect defensive fighting, an enraging challenge, +50 sense motive and spot, or a big threatened area that slows all movement and stops spells and missiles.

Which, I guess expands on that first post to include a whole bunch of anti-magic tricks for spells that normally have no defence (if such things are not simply banned). Just fluff the text such that you're so awesomely mundane that magic doesn't even know you exist, you're not actually dispelling it, just ignoring it for a bit.

A 6th level Rogue trick could be a Hide check that makes him immune to all Divination magic (like an extra saving throw).

Quote:
obstacles like "hundreds of feet of stone" that you'll never be able to convince any DM are punchable problems in any sort of mundane idiom

I happily accept that high level Fighters can bash their way through 10' thick stone walls by dint of putting their shoulder into it, just as Rogues can flit through them by slipping between the shadows. I mean, they're already stabbing dragons to death.

Mundane is allowed to be superhuman, just not eye lasers and shit. Amplified normality. Real people can tumble-run up a 20' wall, I'm pretty sure a high level Fighter can handle a full round of running up.
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Zaranthan
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

tussock wrote:
I'm talking about powers that really compare with 6th-7th level Cleric, Wizard, and Druid spells.

And you're screwed before you start. If the fighter caps out at 7th level spells, then the class ends at level 15 rather than level 5.

Quote:
Mundane is allowed to be superhuman, just not eye lasers and shit. Amplified normality. Real people can tumble-run up a 20' wall, I'm pretty sure a high level Fighter can handle a full round of running up.

See, the wizard gets to teleport up the wall no matter how high it is. After all your bluster about how awesome fighters should be, you still wound up giving him a glass ceiling at Power Rangers level.

If you want a fighter who competes with wizards, you can't settle for being Tommy Oliver. You need to be Lupin III. You need to cure a plague by shooting it. You need to traverse the Desert of Death by shooting it. You need to discover the traitor by shooting it.

"I hit it with my axe" needs to solve every single problem in the world by level 17, because gate and wish do exactly that.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:

Quote:
Mundane is allowed to be superhuman, just not eye lasers and shit. Amplified normality. Real people can tumble-run up a 20' wall, I'm pretty sure a high level Fighter can handle a full round of running up.

See, the wizard gets to teleport up the wall no matter how high it is. After all your bluster about how awesome fighters should be, you still wound up giving him a glass ceiling at Power Rangers level.


Pretty much this. Whenever people talk about how the high level Fighter is going to be able to do awesome (but mundane) things, he just ends up doing mundane things. For fuck's sake: scale a wall that's "pretty high"? At high level? Let's put this in perspective: a Wizard can go over a wall that is effectively infinitely high with a 3rd level spell (Fly), can bring the entire party to the other side of a wall that is actually infinitely high with a 4th level spell (dimension door).

The stunt you're talking about might be usable an unlimited number of times, and it might take only a move action to activate, and any of a number of advantages over levitate, and as such it might be something that Wizards would actually care about having at high level. But you're still talking about an actual narrative effect that is on par with what can be accomplished with a 2nd level spell.

Hell, a 1st level Wizard could potentially send their familiar to fly over to a hard to reach location, benign translocation himself and his raven, and have his raven fly back. Kind of a pain in the ass, but it gets you 110' up the castle wall with a 1st level effect. And that's really what you're offering to the "high level" Fighter: the ability to use 1st and 2nd level effects more conveniently than the Wizard can and does. And I'm sorry, that does not cut the mustard at high level.

This is the fundamental problem with every attempt at making a Vanilla Action Hero work. The scaling of D&D is too fast and it's open ended. No matter how far you move the goal posts, you're still stuck with the fact that the wizard is no conceptually bound by that arena. Fuck, to even make the argument that the character concept had any legs, you needed to come up with several nerfs to force cage. That is one fucking spell. The Wizard has literally hundreds, if not thousands of pages of spells to choose from. How are you planning to nerf fly, dimension door, and teleport such that any mobility effects you intend to give to your fighter mean fuck-all? How are you planning to nerf etherealness such that your fighter can do anything at all to a phased-out wizard?

The harsh reality is that a level-based system has benchmarks of what you need to be able to do in and out of combat to really matter. And in D&D, "things Kevin Sorbo can do" is way below those benchmarks by high level, there's no comparison. Kevin Sorbo is like an 8th or 9th level character. And a fairly limited one at that. And even then, he explicitly uses divine-blood phlebtonium to accomplish things on a fairly regular basis.

-Frank
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sake
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fun fact: even Kevin Sorbo used to complain that he wasn't doing suitibly awesome epic demigod-y stuff enough on that show
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Sashi
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Did the producers respond with "we don't have enough money to show Hercules rerouting rivers, we're spending the effects budget on sexy centaurs"?
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

A lot of the issues are D&D-specific. If you want mundanity to compete with magic, you basically start by saying goodbye to D&D. Or rewriting about 90% of the spells. This still doesn't solve your problems with the Fighter being unable to cross dimensions or discover traitors, but at least if you're writing all the spells from scratch, then when your Force Cage equivalent comes up you can just write it as being vulnerable to really hard sword swings in the first place. Which at least solves the smallest of your problems, and you're already writing, at the very least, an entirely new set of spells to do it.
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Lokathor
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fighters can detect traitors by using their warrior instinct to detect the dishonor in the traitor's blood. That would be cool, and should be included in the next fantasy game that comes out of TGD.
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erik
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

At least the title of the thread is spot on.

Fighters should totally have their own bag of explicitly magic tricks to remain relevant.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
A lot of the issues are D&D-specific. If you want mundanity to compete with magic, you basically start by saying goodbye to D&D. Or rewriting about 90% of the spells. This still doesn't solve your problems with the Fighter being unable to cross dimensions or discover traitors, but at least if you're writing all the spells from scratch, then when your Force Cage equivalent comes up you can just write it as being vulnerable to really hard sword swings in the first place. Which at least solves the smallest of your problems, and you're already writing, at the very least, an entirely new set of spells to do it.


Well yes, this thread is talking about "Fighters" and is thus solidly in the realm of D&D and its clones. In the wider sense, the mundane characters only are necessarily small in the pants if the magicians can do things that are not mundane.

To use the Willow example again: Mad Martigan is actually completely OK adventuring in a party with Willow. Double M is ruggedly handsome, able to flee from danger, able to perform stunts in treacherous conditions, and so on. He can also stab people in the face. All in all, he's a perfectly viable character so long as the adventures the party are undertaking are relatively mundane. Willow has some magic, but most of it is sleight of hand and shit, and would be totally at home in a fairly mundane adventure. The reason that we can see that Double M is badly outclassed and cannot possibly continue being a player character in that campaign is because when the party finally gets to the main villain they find out that she has not one but two separate "you must have at least this much magic in order to continue the adventure" checks. The first is that she can turn you and your entire army into pigs (dispel magic or GTFO), and the second is that she can telekinesis-throw you and all your allies off the ground and into a deadly field of spikes (again, dispel magic or GTFO). Once that level of magic exists, mundane characters of any focus are obsolete.

This also means that characters in higher tech levels can accept more powerful magic without undermining mundane characters. In a modern scenario, "mundane" characters can route phone calls through satellites in order to have real time conversations with people across the planet and drive steam shovels and bulldozers that can reduce a fortress to rubble in minutes. Magic can do some pretty crazy shit without exceeding the power of an iPhone or an MRI machine.

But there's still a fundamental disconnect. Even in Star Trek, where a "mundane" character can adjust the deflector array to send a tachyon pulse to activate and tune a time rift, there are still things that a mundane character cannot do. And if the magic character has stuff that exceeds that noticeably, then the mundane characters are glass ceilinged by definition.

-Frank
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unnamednpc
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

If Fighters are to be a thing, they need to Prestige Class into Demigods and get actual magical demigodly abilities. Need. Not want.
-Frank

Yes. And these abilities need to be meaningful, and thematically, narratively and mechanically engaging and interesting enough to warrant their existance. Something that actually makes you excited to level your fighter past 3rd level without requiring you to have your head knee deep in a bucket full of vintage 1978 grognard ignorance.

Maybe it's because as a European, I'm not as deeply steeped in "classic" D&D tropes and assumptions, but I really fail to see why that would be so fucking hard. Once you manage to punch the "John Matrix can be a 20th level character" stupid out of the collective mindset.
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Avoraciopoctules
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
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So if we want to make a recognizable "Fighter" who still has abilities that are relevant when they aren't stabbing, what sorts of options do we have? Here's one, just stream of conscious.

The Berserker. This guy is a master of touching his spirit bear. He wears a magical animal hide belt or cape and after he gets shanked once he turns into some kind of burly beastman. But it's not all beating the honey and berries out of his foes. The spirit-animal connection lets the Berserker sense things instinctively that a regular person wouldn't. An intuitive sense for shifty body language helps see through bluffs. The Berserker can commune with both regular animals and spirits, and that means that there are tons of informants around willing to take food or incense burnings as pay.

At high levels, the Berserker can bless or curse people with various kinds of werewolfy powers. Pushing people into base "animal" emotions gives a social toolbox. The Berserker can also bond with primal spirits that have increasingly high special effects budgets, maybe invoking Fenris to call magical winter or something.

If a powerful Berserker needs to track down a fugitive Evil Wizard that fled to the City of Brass, he takes something out of the Wizard Tower to serve as a spiritual link for his soul to follow the "scent" of. He then casts "Bond Hellhound Spirits" on his handful of skinshifter huskarls and leads everyone in a ritual that transports them to Yggdrasil, a dimensional crossroads. They take a portal to the Fire Plane, and then follow the sympathetic link to the Evil Wizard's lair. To get the Efreet Sultan to withdraw his protection so they can commence with the dungeoneering, the Berserker trades a totem he made that summons some hardcore magic wolves to fight for the user, and he also channels the "scary" bonus from his bound spirits when saying that backstabbing him would be a bad idea.

Workable? Too mage-ey?
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DSMatticus
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's very mage-ey. But that's the point: magic has a monopoly on high-level non-combat utility. D&D magic replaces all concievable mundane ways of doing things.

There is no high-level D&D concept which contributes in non-combat that is not "magic-ey" in some way.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zaranthan wrote:
tussock wrote:
I'm talking about powers that really compare with 6th-7th level Cleric, Wizard, and Druid spells.

And you're screwed before you start. If the fighter caps out at 7th level spells, then the class ends at level 15 rather than level 5.

Quote:
Mundane is allowed to be superhuman, just not eye lasers and shit. Amplified normality. Real people can tumble-run up a 20' wall, I'm pretty sure a high level Fighter can handle a full round of running up.

See, the wizard gets to teleport up the wall no matter how high it is. After all your bluster about how awesome fighters should be, you still wound up giving him a glass ceiling at Power Rangers level.

If you want a fighter who competes with wizards, you can't settle for being Tommy Oliver. You need to be Lupin III. You need to cure a plague by shooting it. You need to traverse the Desert of Death by shooting it. You need to discover the traitor by shooting it.

"I hit it with my axe" needs to solve every single problem in the world by level 17, because gate and wish do exactly that.


No, he's well below Power Rangers level, because Power Rangers get the following class features.

Morph
Teleport
Plane Shift
Summon Zord

When one of your class features is thirty-story-tall magical robot dragon, you're substantially better than an average fighter.
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erik
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I like a warrior who has tricks and spells that he can bust out.

He's got a formula for a bag that he can spread glitterdust style that counters invisibility/incorporeality, binds magic to his blade to slice open portals for planar travel, flash step, tokens to summon the spirit of a defeated foe for a task and so forth. I don't think there's a conceptual problem with a warrior who uses magic.
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Winnah
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The feats ascribed to berserkers in poety and myth were pretty magical. Being immune to fire and iron. Shapeshifting. The ability to blunt enemiy blades with incantations or a glance.

Their lodges and rituals were outlawed as witchcraft in Iceland.

So a berserker class should be totally supernatural, IMHO. Otherwise you may as well make an Intoxicated Psychotic class, or just let any class 'go berserk' due to PTSD, or by ingesting dangerous quantities of psilocybin, ergot or alcohol.
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Wulf
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Didn't force effects had a DR 30/- rather then being completely damage immune? Was that an earlier version or something...different D20 fantasy game? forgot. If you could do 30 damage in a single hit, the force barrier would shatter.
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Whipstitch
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wall of Force and Forcecage are SRD spells that seriously use the words "immune to damage of all kinds." They also trap ethereals just because it's funnier that way.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Why are people allowed to pretend that it's okay for class to be called Fighter?
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