Balancing Fighters with Vancian Mages

This is taken and expanded upon from my post here (that covers other "fix" areas): community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


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Also, for the example of making fighters more complex in a module, in league with vancian casters, and not AEDU (I like it, the general consensus seems not to) is to use an already existing system - psionics. Monks called upon hidden resserves to do amazing stunts, why not fighters? Once again history/myth already shows us this. As a slight tweek with the 4E Psionics rules, make them endurance or fatigue points instead of PSPs. Novels are replete with the idea that fighters/warriors/etc, can get tired. Do away with per encounter/daily powers and just have a finite amount of points they can use per level. If the Ftr spends enough points to use it once and get tired out or use a bunch in short bursts, that's the Ftr's perogative while at the same time being more realistic.


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Each of the Four Core would be balanced in power yet have different mechanics that DON'T break verisimulitude (sp?).  They'd also have unique Class Features. 

Mage = Vancian = Fire and Forget

Fighter = Manuevers = fight until you collapse from exhaustion

Cleric = Channel Divinity = pray and thou shalt recieve depending on deity

Rogue = Tricks based on Stat Specialization? I'm still a lil' foggy on this one but maybe DEX Rogue is like Disney's Aladdin evading the town guard in the opening seen, INT Rogue is like a master thief casing a vault to plan out the play (think Ocean's 11), while a CHA Rogue is like Bilbo Baggins sweet talking his way past Smaug the red dragon. 

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One note on the fighters.

If you are taking anything from psionics then use psychic warrior as your base.

Psychic warriors had abilities that were "always on" as long as you had a high enough reserve.

In this way your simple fighter is one that just never spends his points.

Then the complex fighter is just trading those reliable abilities for bursts of raw power at the expense of not performing as well consistently.

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Awesome point Valdark, since the post this one expands uopm comes from starting the FOUR CORE simple and then building up to vancian Complexity, I like it!

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It's the only class from any psionics handbook I will ever play and I never ever spend psp.

I believe it is the 3.0 psychic warrior as I never purchased the 3.5 psionics handbook.

I'm not sure if they were reserve feats or powers. It's been quite a few years and I can't find the book at present.

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Yep did a quick google search for 3.0 psychic warrior an found it.

They were powers and instead of power point cost they said "power point reserve X+"

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Cool. YeAh i remember when 4e came out with the psionics rules overall liked it better than the 3e ones but i miss me some 3e psychic warrior! That was one of my favorite 3e classes!

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Correction they were feats

Some example feats

(forget the exact names so. Will just make some up but they are in there)

Weaving charge
Power point reserve 3+
You can make turns while charging. No more than 90 degrees per turn.

Inertial Armor
Power point reserve 1+
You gain +4 armor bonus describe the effect how you will. Ie invisible, glowing, etc

Psionic speed
Power point reserve 4+ *
You gain 10ft movement
*every time you take this feat you get 10 additional ft of movement but it requires an additional 4 points in reserve per increment

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That is a fantastic idea, for people who want Psionics.

Some people don't want Psionics in their fantasy games at all, others don't mind it in the game but don't want to play them.

I'd like to be able to play a martial character which is as interesting, diverse and powerful as a caster from lvl 1 through to lvl 30+.

Surely we can have stances, powers or abilities which allow a Fighter/Rogue/Warlord (assuming Rangers are lost to demi-caster status again) to keep up with casters without having to use Psionics?



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Still... I DID like the Psychic Warrior.       
It will be the same thing whatever you try to give the fighter, AEDU fatigue maneuvers whatever, whenever you give them cool abilities which are balanced by some kind of resource usage you will inevitably trigger cries of "The fighter is now a Wizard" there's no hope to be found.
@ Valdark: Yeah. I think the powers were like that. Brings. Ack memories of my psychic warrior running up a wall.

@ Admiral: the essentials knight and slayer did pretty much what u were talking about. Though i had hoped for them to when taking out dailies to add more encounters instead of just the times blah weapon damage they added in.

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Arrrrgh typing from an iphone.... Admiral, i wasnt advocating psionics for the fighter per say, just some sort of endurance fatigue system for martial err manuevers. Whether its psionics or not isnt really the point. I was just trying to find a compromise set within the existing framework which likens itself more fully to the real world then AEDU for warrior types. Although to defend AEDU for fighters jean claude van damme doesnt "@ will" his signature "jumping roundhouse flykick" every scene of his mOvies ,)

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Van Damme is a dancer.

I know off topic.

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I don't know.

I think if you gave the fighter flat at will abilities that were balanced and then tagged on the stamina mechanic using something like the power point reserve that caused you to lose out on the basic abilities to do something extra you'd make most people happy.

As long as the base abilities were strong enough to make trading them in for that big spike was something you actually had to consider.

So to change those feats around from psychic warrior to fighter we'd have to see some very careful design work.

We could have specialization be a single point reserve since it is a basic fighter ability.

Then using the slayer as an example you could have the Reaper ability be a 3pt reserve.

Cleave could be a 3-4pt reserve as well.

So say you have 3 pts at first level. The fighter could spend a point to gain max weapon damage on a roll or something like the channel divinity from the cleric of Moradin.

In doing so he gives up his reaper ability for the rest of the day.

Now I'm not saying that this is a balanced trade just giving some examples.

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@ Admiral: the essentials knight and slayer did pretty much what u were talking about. Though i had hoped for them to when taking out dailies to add more encounters instead of just the times blah weapon damage they added in.



Yeah, my ideal is something along the lines of AEU.

I'm prepared to admit it's not for everyone, but it captures the best of interesting abilities available all the time with more powerful options balanced per engagement and separately measured out-of-combat capabilities (which would be my focus for utilities).

It's not that I don't want to see a Psychic Warrior done well again... I'd like that a lot.  Nor that I can't see how some of the mechanics could be applied to a Fighter for Next. 

But I'm not feeling very confident after hearing the designer tell us that there won't be alternative systems for the same class.  That's bad in my book and I can't see how the "dial of complexity" for the Fighter will work without system alternates.       
@Valdark- the world must be coming to an end as you've posted something that didn't absolutely cause me to breaak out in hives
 
An idea I had in another thread:

I'm not a particular fan of vancian magic (dailies) in the first place and I think that 4th edition was an improvement over it. I would have taken it further than 4th edition did in order to better differentiate the classes. Instead of every single class having even spreads of the 3 resource types (At-Will, Encounter and Daily), some classes would have far more emphasis on one type and less of another while other classes would use their own special resource type instead of always having those 3. So a necromancer could have less emphasis on encounter and daily powers on their own, but would have an ability that lets them augment their powers if they touch the corpse of a recently dead enemy; thus making the distribution of dead enemies a significant resource for the necromancer. Or giving the barbarian an ability similar to how fury works in diablo 3; they gain fury as they deal damage and take damage and they can use that fury to augment their at will powers much like a psion, but they don't gain any encounter powers.
@Valdark- the world must be coming to an end as you've posted something that didn't absolutely cause me to breaak out in hives
 



I've noticed it in other threads too. I'm not complaining.

Van Damme is a dancer. I know off topic.



I thought I remembered him doing something somewhat more legit, so I checked Wikipedia....and apparently his early martial arts career is in "kickboxing." So.....yeah, not really. Legit, that is.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

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57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
I know right?

What's happening to me? I even agreed with lokaire yesterday.

All that remains is for me to start agreeing with English_Language. I think that would be the final sign of the apocalypse.

But in all seriousness I think we've all settled a little and are starting to be less reactionary.

This helps us find points we actually can agree on instead of hunting imaginary trolls.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

But in all seriousness I think we've all settled a little and are starting to be less reactionary. This helps us find points we actually can agree on instead of hunting imaginary trolls.





I'd be quite happy about this. Division, hatred, and spite weaken the hobby. I like my nerdy games. I want to keep playing my nerdy games.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
So let's try and work together to find solutions.

Let's remember that modularity means nothing more than PHB option block.

If you are opposed to something try and find a way to work that opposing option into something that can stand beside your preferred option.

We are for the most part the best equipped to design this game since we have all played one version or another more than the average player.

Our presence on the boards means we all care about the direction of the game so let's all start acting like a party of adventurers with different skill sets and treat the unfinished game as a challenge that we need the entire party to complete.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Valdark: You should take a look at the 3.5 psionics (no need to buy the book, it's in the srd. d20srd.org), the feats you listed that have a power point reserve in 3.5 relied on a mechanic called Psionic Focus. To be psionically focused you have to make a concentration check as a full round action, and have at least one power point in reserve. While you are psionically focused, you get a couple minor benefits, but then there's also a bunch of feats that give better benefits for maintaining a focus. There's other feats and abilities that are activated upon expending the focus. So you choose between holding onto the passive abilities or letting them go for a single potent action. It was a interesting mechanic, and better balanced than the power point reserve, because most psionicists simply don't get low enough to get below the few power points specified.




That said, I don't think that a power reserve granting extra abilities is a bad thing, I just think it should be something more like "I have these points dedicated to this", rather than "I have this until I drop below that". So if you have like 50 power points, you might assign 5 points to Cleave, 15 points to a passive haste effect, 3 points into a few different energy resist effects, 9 points into a save booster, 5 points into some passive damage resistance, and whatever's left over into more damage. If the character  wants to use any active abilities (whether it be a short duration buff like growing in size or vampiric attacks, or an active ability like teleporting) he would have to give up one of his passive abilities to do so. So the simple Fighter is someone who just sits on his passive abilities, but at any time can choose to become more complex if he desires or the situation warrants some extra flexibility.
I've never thought about a point-based fatigue system for fighters... I certainly like it!
I can see regaining a set number of points after a short rest, possibly more if a spell such as heroes feast or soething or other is cast.
Now that I've converted to AEDU, I'm starting to see fighters in a much different light, and honestly this reflects pretty well what I want out of AEDU- a way to gauge the fatigue of a fighter.
However, a fighter should gain a significant amount of points since they are the "pro" at fighting. Paladins could gain fatigue points, but significantly less or even none instead gaining channel divinity, a couple at wills and a daily or two.
Barbarians may get a small amount of fatigue points, but have effectively an infinite amount during their rage.  
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Great points Seerow

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I've never thought about a point-based fatigue system for fighters... I certainly like it!
I can see regaining a set number of points after a short rest, possibly more if a spell such as heroes feast or soething or other is cast.
Now that I've converted to AEDU, I'm starting to see fighters in a much different light, and honestly this reflects pretty well what I want out of AEDU- a way to gauge the fatigue of a fighter.
However, a fighter should gain a significant amount of points since they are the "pro" at fighting. Paladins could gain fatigue points, but significantly less or even none instead gaining channel divinity, a couple at wills and a daily or two.
Barbarians may get a small amount of fatigue points, but have effectively an infinite amount during their rage.  



Personally the way I think of Paladins in a fatigue/stamina based system is a hybrid prestige class for Fighter/Cleric.  The divine Eldritch Knight. It gets decent martial prowess and decent Divine Casting, but not quite as good at either individually as the specialists. Barbarians I see as the actual simple class, who gets a fair bit of stamina but a rage ability that takes up almost all of that stamina and gives a bunch of level appropriate combat boosts.
I've never thought about a point-based fatigue system for fighters... I certainly like it!
I can see regaining a set number of points after a short rest, possibly more if a spell such as heroes feast or soething or other is cast.
Now that I've converted to AEDU, I'm starting to see fighters in a much different light, and honestly this reflects pretty well what I want out of AEDU- a way to gauge the fatigue of a fighter.
However, a fighter should gain a significant amount of points since they are the "pro" at fighting. Paladins could gain fatigue points, but significantly less or even none instead gaining channel divinity, a couple at wills and a daily or two.
Barbarians may get a small amount of fatigue points, but have effectively an infinite amount during their rage.  



Personally the way I think of Paladins in a fatigue/stamina based system is a hybrid prestige class for Fighter/Cleric.  The divine Eldritch Knight. It gets decent martial prowess and decent Divine Casting, but not quite as good at either individually as the specialists. Barbarians I see as the actual simple class, who gets a fair bit of stamina but a rage ability that takes up almost all of that stamina and gives a bunch of level appropriate combat boosts.



I like both, paladin has ALWAYS seemed like a prestige class to me. 
As far as barbarians go, I wouldn't mind seeing all the stamina points be drained for the rage, thus inducing penalties afterwards without having to add in a seperate mechanic. However, as a side note to the stamina discussion, barbarians need some bada$$ stuff to do in rage. charging through enemies, throwing them, etc. should be given as examples if not codified powers. I LOOOOVE me a barbarian.  
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Awesome points everyone. Especially about us all being an adventuring party and contributing different things

The more and more we all talk about and offer our different takes, "the fAtigue point system sounds doable" maybe have that for the fighter types inline power wise with vancian casters and something like a hybrid between stances and reserve points for less complexity? Or maybe the complexity hierachy goes something like: stances --> reserve --> fatigue points?

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That could work but I'd say reserve points being the assumed base then stances then using fatigue while reducing reserves?

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That could work but I'd say reserve points being the assumed base then stances then using fatigue while reducing reserves?



Ok I'd be down with that.  I havent had time to look up the exact wording on the stances or the reserves since the newborn ;)  I was wondering how the hierachy should go.  In your proposal would you apply a feat tax to reserves, keep it as a warrior type only class ability, or what?  Obviosly we want to keep it simple, but how, exactly?

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The reserves would be your theme and fighter based abilities as we have seen so far.

Then you could apply stances to these.

And later have things that spend reserves and can be tied into stances as well.

The only "feat tax" would be the limitations of your base fighter and theme combo.

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Ok Valdark, i like that.  Nice and simple with ways to build "modules" on the "turn up the dial" layer on complexity.


So, now, how do we make a simple mage that is balanced with that?
  

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Now that is very tricky.

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Regardless of the decision on maneuvers versus vancian spells, the problem is deeper rooted in the sense that a wizard or cleric can bump all their points into one ability, i.e. intelligence or wisdom, and it effects everything they do from attack bonus to hit, difficulty of saves, number of spells available, etc. The martial class is multi-stat dependent. I believe a decision has to be made to follow the 4E design paradigm to make each class choose a primary stat, or in the old school train of thought, make certain abilities effect certain attacks. So if a wizard wants to do tenser's transformation and wield a sword then they need a good strength, if they want to lob missiles, then they need a good dex, if they want to charm someone they need a good charisma. But they should take a feature from other games like GURPS and make it hard for a magic user to boost their own stats.

I would like the playing field balanced at a lower level based on abilities. This will lend itself to balance class features.
So let's try and work together to find solutions. Let's remember that modularity means nothing more than PHB option block. If you are opposed to something try and find a way to work that opposing option into something that can stand beside your preferred option. We are for the most part the best equipped to design this game since we have all played one version or another more than the average player. Our presence on the boards means we all care about the direction of the game so let's all start acting like a party of adventurers with different skill sets and treat the unfinished game as a challenge that we need the entire party to complete.





slow clap sir
Always excuse the spelling, and personal opinions are just that personal and opinions. Getting Down with the playtesting of 5th http://community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/view/75882/29139253/Complilation_of_Playtest_Feedback Compilation of Feedback post /bump please
Can you elaborrate on what you mean in terms of how stances interract with Reserve Points/Fatigue? I'm not sure I understand. There's a lack of concise definition in this thread and I want to make sure everyone's on the same page. These are the definitions as I currently understand them.


Fatigue-Mundanes have a pool of fatigue points that is used for various abilities by these classes.
Reserve-Reserve abilities are passive abilities that always remain on as long as Fatigue Points are invested in them. Some Reserves may have extra Fatigue Points invested to increase their effect
Stances-Specific set of abilities that come in a module that are used like the reserve abilities, except as long as you have points reserved in stances, you may swap between any stance you know at will without draining stamina.
Exploits (for lack of a better term)-Abilities that drain stamina. If this drops your stamina below the current amount being used for a reserve, you need to drop one of your reserve abilities.

Am I mostly right in what we're discussing, or is it something else entirely?  My biggest confusion was where stances fit into everything. Or would Stances just be the name for Reserve abilities?

Assuming I'm right, In this system the simplest fighter would be the one who just uses a bunch of reserve abilities that he never bothers changing. The next most complicated would be one who invests points into stances he can switch up at will. The most complicated would be one actually using exploits and managing that resource. The best part is all three playstyles can be accoplished more or less without any changes to the class or resource system, it's all in how the player chooses to use it.





As for how to make a simple Wizard to balance against it, looking to reserve feats from 3.5 might be a good place to start. As long as you have a spell of a given type prepared, you get a weaker at will ability. For example Fiery Burst gives you a 5ft radius burst within 30ft that deals Xd6 damage where X is the highest level Fire Spell you have prepared. 

You could expand on this concept and make it so a Wizard who doesn't actually expend any of his spells plays something like a warlock (a handful of at will abilities and passive buffs), while one who does cast his spells has more potent abilities but has to manage his resource. 
Uchawi,

Or to keep it simple we make all the fighter abilities based on a single stat. You can choose one of two builds: STR or DEX

Make the choice under specialty and away we go.

With heavy armor and light armor + high dex matching up we are on equal ground there.

With a wealth of Dex based weapons and no feat tax we are good to go there.

With the strongest ranged weapon being Str based we are good.

Now we can concentrate all fighter abilities on these two stats and they will each be independent of each other as far as the fighter is concerned.

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@ Uchawi: all very valid points. I wholeheartey agree. Since DDN is so stat dependent (which i like btw) balance should start there since that is where everything else stems from. When only the 4e players handbook was out i had the same problem with paladins needing str, con, wis, cha. Fighters in most editions requiring str con dex and possibly wis. mages mostly just needing int.

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@scown1269, my phone doesnt allow me to quote text, much less even type right, yet even though i mention what u quoted i feel it deserves more:


Triple clap!!!!!!!! ;) good sir Valdark

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The question in my mind isn't how to keep a Fighter from needing Dex (as pointed out, you can choose Dex or Str and be fine either way, though dex is usually better), but how to make a Fighter not need con, and how to provide out of combat utility if you're SAD on Strength. A lot of the Fighter's noncombat utility problems can be traced to having Strength and Con as their primary stats and neither of those being linked to much in the way of non-combat utility, where Dex, Int, Wis, and Charisma all fill very important roles (sneaking/knowledge/perception/social respectively).
Seerow you are 100% on with what we are discussing.

That's a good take on the wizard options. We may have to tweak them slightly for the reserves but yeah you would have a warlock style wizard that could swap his reserves on a daily basis.

What do we give them as the middle ground?

The stances section.

We could use the implement idea and call it Focus.

You can change Focus as often as a fighter can change stances and this alters which reserves are in effect (or perhaps slightly heightened). Defensive focus might grant extra AC and buffs with the offensive spells falling back to the default at will versions. Then from the appropriate stance you can cast your daily and loose the bonus abilities for that associated spell.


This also gives us a good basis on how many reserve points the fighter would need. The fighter gets exactly as many reserve points as the wizard gets daily spells.

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We could use the implement idea and call it Focus.

You can change Focus as often as a fighter can change stances and this alters which reserves are in effect (or perhaps slightly heightened).  Defensive focus might grant extra AC and buffs with the offensive spells falling back to the default at will versions.   Then from the appropriate stance you can cast your daily and loose the bonus abilities for that associated spell.



I could see having Focus that modifies current reserves. Say you have one focus that increases the range of any targetted reserves, one that makes them hit a wider area/more targets, that sort of thing. Though this is the sort of thing I frequently see brought up as a good way to handle implements. What if instead of focus, you let Wizards have non-magical implements (ie cheap and easy to get) they can switch between to gain different effects for their at will abilities. That way it has a distinctly different feel from how a Fighter's stances work, even though the end effect is similar. Because if we learned nothing else from 4e, it's that if the mechanics look or feel somewhat similar, people will complain that the Fighter is using magic even if he's not.

This also gives us a good basis on how many reserve points the fighter would need.  The fighter gets exactly as many reserve points as the wizard gets daily spells.




It's a little more complicated than that. With a point based system higher level abilities are going to cost more points, just like Wizards have more spell slots at higher levels. But you are right that a conversion could be made between the two once the power scaling is hashed out.

Again a good point Seerow.

While the fighter does not suffer as greatly due to the lower effect of Con across all levels.

Perhaps we go back to 2e and give him a unique HP bonus on con.

Since Con now limits low rolls we have the wizard with 18 Con getting full HP every level.

Well let's look at how to give the fighter equal benefit here.

Max wizard HP per level is 4. Fighter is 12. Three times the HP.

So let's make the minimum HP for fighter 3xcon mod.

This allows a fighter with a much lower con to keep pace with the other classes and maintain his HP superiority.

For skill options I am open to suggestion.

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