On bounded accuracy and fighters

Please try and bear with me, as i'm pouring what's on my mind here without a rough draft: it may be terribly lacking in structure. I hope you'll get the gist of it...here goes


The idea of bounded accuracy was introduced in the game for a few reasons, chief among them: preventing the impossible success or failure of a roll (rolls that need a 20 to succede, or only fail on a 1) and making maths more manageable.
Base Attack bonus were drasticaly cut and bonus from many sources were cut down too. 

In cutting both on Base attack bonus and on external bonus, a sort of balance was achieved, but nothing truly feels stronger than anything else. It is now to a point where there is too little distinction between someone who is good at something, and someone who is just average : attributes and magic weapons aside, a 20th level fighter (the epitomy of combat prowess) is only 25% more likely to hit than a first level wizard (who may never have been in a fight all his life) 

To balance this, the fighter has been given additional dices to either add to damage, or that can be spent to activate some maneuvers. But it feels sort of gimmicky and it's rather abstract. worst of all, it doesn't make the fighter stand out as much.

There is already something in the game that can (and should) represent combat expertise: the Base bonus to attack
The BAB should represent how good you are in a scrap in general, not just how accurate you are with your pointy tools.

Now, back when a 20th level fighter could actualy have a total attack bonus of +39, the idea that i'm about to put forward wouldn't make any sense, But bounded accuracy has brought something that I feel could be the missing link to make the fighter more interresting, simpler, more iconic and really unique:
Small BAB means that each +1 is precious, and since they are bound to be part of the game, I say lets squeeze every last drop of usefullness we can get out of them.


Attack bonus as a resource:

Instead of spending martial dices, you spend your Attack bonus.

I'm gonna go on a leg here and propose numbers totally pulled out of my ***. they only serve as examples to illustrate my point, so please no nitpicking the specific.

instead of capping off at +5 at level 20, lets say the fighter's BAB caps off at +11 (1/2 level, starts at +2)
Bounded accuracy would still be respected as no other real bonus would add on top (appart from attributes) and +11 is a serious bonus but well within the cap of the D20 (no roll on a D20 would be impossible to fail while also being impossible to make for someone else)

And consider maneuvers part of the core combat rules, written like this:

Trip attack: make an attack with a -3 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal and also falls prone. You may elect to deal no damage with this action.

Disarm: make an attack with a -4 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal and also lose grip on wathever he's holding. You may elect to deal no damage with this action.

Sundering attack: make an attack with a -3 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal but a piece of his equipment also suffers the same damage

Bull rush: make an attack with a -2 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal but also moves back 5 ft. You may elect to deal no damage with this action.

Stunning attack: make an attack with a -4 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal and is stunned until the beginning of your next turn. You may elect to deal no damage with this action.

Defensive stance:  (could replaces parry) make an attack with a penality up to your Base attack bonus. until the begining of your next turn you, substract the penality you took on all damage you suffer from attacks.

Sand in your eyes: make an attack with a -3 penality to hit. If you succede, your opponent takes damage as normal and is blinded if it fails a dexterity save.
 
And to replace the damage output of the martial dices: Good 'ol Power attack:  Make an attack with a penality up to your Base attack bonus. You deal extra damage equal to twice the penality you took (3X if weapon is heavy)

The designers of 4th got rid of power attack because it was ridiculous in 3.5 and bugged down play. But so far, DnDNext has no enormous scaling of numbers and no multiple attacks. They also dropped it because it was originaly designed to simulate a "wild powerfull swing lacking in accuracy" but it ended up being used in a carefully calculated way (something that bounded accuracy now makes impossible anyway)
But just because something isn't used as intended doesn't mean it needs to be removed.


An added advantage to this is that these maneuvers can be attempted by any character (anyone can TRY to trip an opponent and so forth) but only the fighter can do it and actually combine them with enough attack bonus left to hit reliably.

Sure, the fighter would be more reliable when trying to hit things, and doing nothing else (as he should IMO), but it allows the excess points to be spent to power what makes the fighter not only unique, but also very interresting to play. The fighter could be a delight to the tacticaly minded player.

As for the basic rules:  a simplified version of power attack would be enough to keep the damage output on par with the other classes while keeping the class very simple to play

Flavor-wise, these rules would make the fighter an all around killer in combat, capable of all sorts of combat prowess, instead of being a purveyor of a handfull of tricks.
A fighter under these rules would not have to sort and pick maneuvers at different levels: he would have them all from the get go, and just grow more awesome at doing them as he progresses in levels.

Other considerations:

Rogues and monks: Rogues and monks are known to perform maneuvers, but being a master of ALL maneuvers is the sole purview of the fighter. Consider giving them a reduced penality when they attempt a short list of signature maneuvers, as a class feature

here's another way to make weapons different: Halberds lessen the penality of a trip made with them by 1. for example. Many other weapons could be made unique and interresting this way. We could see fighters weilding other weapons than just long swords...

also, maybe consider this: Weapon specialization: pick a single weapon. When you perform a maneuver using this weapon, the penality is reduced by 1 (minimum -1)
Weapon specialization is a staple of DnD, has been around since forever. It would be a shame if, in the name of bounded accuracy, it were to dissapear.
Also, in this version, it would consolidate the fighter's place as the master of combat maneuvers without adding to it's already sizable Attack bonus.

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Your mileage may vary, but reducing attack bonus => more misses, and nobody likes missing. I personally find reduced damage a much better alternative, because you don't get that feeling that you screwed yourself over on an attack.
Taking a penalty to hit to gain an effect is lose/lose. Going for the highest attack bonus and just dealing the damage will end up ending the fight faster, and those little maneuvers won't get used at all. 3E had the maneuvers right at their base; Trip, Disarm, Sunder, Bullrush, and Grapple didn't cause a penalty to hit, but you gave up your damage.

Missing also sucks. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

What's the point of a trip when hitting hard enough will knock the enemy down just as fast, and longer.  Like forever.
What's the point of a trip when hitting hard enough will knock the enemy down just as fast, and longer.  Like forever.



It does make guaging such things tough doesnt it. The first element is you need more time for things like that to be relevant.. ie the hard enough point has to be fairly high. The maneuvers are not something you waste on a minion unless you can affect many of them with a single sweep... and your special moves cant be undoable against all the non-minions...ooh look a trip? vs a dragon... no but a martial takedown where you clip a wing with an axe just when they are trying to shift side ways and you use there own weight against them.

 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Attack bonus IS abstract. 

Currently, fighters get Parry, Maneuvers and Combat Surges to set them apart from not-fighters. Whether that suffices, or is the right way to go, is still under testing. 

A lot of being a good fighter is NOT about being more 'accurate' as such, but about knowing HOW, and WHEN to act, as well as knowing TECHNIQUES and having a well-trained body.

Well, Maneuvers don't really help to tell them appart: 4 of the 5 classes can use them so far :P
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Well, Maneuvers don't really help to tell them appart: 4 of the 5 classes can use them so far :P



Check the maneuvers document and look at the lists again... There is a fighter section there that 4 out of 5 classes cant use.

Also I agree with senevri that the sentence "attributes and magic weapons aside" makes the OPs initial points about fighting prowes rather insignificant. I quite like the fact that a 20th level Fighter with 8 str/dex and 20 int SUCKS at fighting compared to a 1st Wizard with 20 str/dex and 8 int. You cant just zoom in on one part and try to balance that particular section without looking at the bigger picture.

 I agree with you that "Small BAB means that each +1 is precious" So I would personally not trade that in for funky stuff.

Missing is fun in baseball videogames. Even if you are batting 25% if you know that, that 25% can change of even threaten the game its still a game. It can still be fun in D&D.


 Chuck I don’t like your idea because it isn’t radical enough.It doesn’t improve what is broken about BA. I should preface it by saying that imo the main flaw of BA is that nothing else is bound but accuracy and you cant improve accuracy with proficiencies. Address those issues and yes then it might work with trading accuracy and maybe multiple attacks for penalized status effects.   








Also I agree with senevri that the sentence "attributes and magic weapons aside" makes the OPs initial points about fighting prowes rather insignificant. I quite like the fact that a 20th level Fighter with 8 str/dex and 20 int SUCKS at fighting compared to a 1st Wizard with 20 str/dex and 8 int. You cant just zoom in on one part and try to balance that particular section without looking at the bigger picture.

.



Lets take a guy who is Bantam weight champion of the world and also has a 150+ IQ against the best amateur track and field prospect in the world who has never been in a fight. Sure in D&D the boxer wins with hp alone however in Next the track star is still a more accurate striker. That is a flaw in logic. Hp has more to do with size and con. Yeah skill ought to give the champ an advantage but not 200 hp to 10 like you might have now. If you want a more honest less abstract simulation the major advantage should be in attack score and AC not hp and damage.




I suggest combining BAB and trading W for maneuvers. Fighters gain +1BAB per level. For every 5 over the target AC they gain 1W. Then they can exchange 1W for a Trip or Disarm, or 2W for Stun. Any class can access these maneuvers, but the Fighter is superior because they get more BAB than any other class.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

I suggest combining BAB and trading W for maneuvers. Fighters gain +1BAB per level. For every 5 over the target AC they gain 1W. Then they can exchange 1W for a Trip or Disarm, or 2W for Stun. Any class can access these maneuvers, but the Fighter is superior because they get more BAB than any other class.




Thank you!

This is the gist of what I wanted to convey
What I had in mind was a rough idea and i'm quite bad at explaining it with examples (or maybe it's my example that sucks...or both) Embarassed

Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
I suggest combining BAB and trading W for maneuvers. Fighters gain +1BAB per level. For every 5 over the target AC they gain 1W. Then they can exchange 1W for a Trip or Disarm, or 2W for Stun. Any class can access these maneuvers, but the Fighter is superior because they get more BAB than any other class.


Except most people seem to want some amount of bounded accuracy. A fighter hitting with a +29 would destroy that concept. 20th level fighter with belt of giant str 29 and a hammer of thunderbolts would be at +32 I think.
Kezzek-
Since HP represents more than actual damage, this kind of system represents how effective an attack is.
Using your example that Fighter would do 7W damage on average, not so different than what we have now... 



Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

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