I like the idea of expertise dice in its concept: a way to represent the Fighter's mastery of different forms of combat in a general manner and unified mechanic. But I dislike that ED is an encounter-based resource. Basically because I dislike encounter-based abilities in general.
The debate about encounter abilities has been going around for a long while... Is it a good way to balance more powerful abilities? Why can my fighter make this attack once and then no more? Why does he become "tired" and can't use it anymore but can use other encounter abilities still? And so on...
The idea here is not to discuss whether encounter abilities are good or not, but just to offer one possible alternative for Expertise Dice that is not encounter based, for those who don't like encounter-based stuff. An "optional module", if you like.
It's quite simple, actually, and plays a similar role as the traditional Fighter's Specialization, but not limited to a bonus damage. Instead, more broad to encompass different types fighters who specialize in different fighting techniques. Kinda like Expertise Dice as is.
•You start out with a +1 Expertise Bonus at 1st level.
•At every 5 levels, this bonus increase by +1. (The number of levels may be different, just picked a number here.)
•At every X levels, you choose one type of combat-related roll to apply this bonus. Examples include:
-Attack rolls with one type of weapon (axes, swords, bows, etc).
-Damage rolls with one type of weapon.
-Maneuver rolls for one type of maneuver (Trip, Disarm, Push, etc).
-AC against 1 attack in the round.
•You decide how you spend your Expertise Bonus on a round-by-round basis, at the begining of your turn. Of course, only from the options available to you, the ones you picked at each X levels as mentioned above.
•Optionally, you need not spend the entire bonus in one thing. But can divide it between two or more combat options you chose for Expertise.
•Each bonus is for 1 roll or defense against 1 roll only. So if you picked "bonus damage with axes" and have a +2 total bonus, you can either spend this +2 in one axe damage roll in the round, or +1 in two axe damage rolls in the same round (provided you can somehow make two attacks).
•Expertise Bonus becomes then a tactical choice the Fighter makes every round inside the scope of his areas of combat expertise. Should I go for offense? For defense? A balance between both? Should I focus in one type of maneuver I know, like disarming this foe?
The general idea is simple. The Fighter gets better at the type of combat technique he practices while leveling. He "specializes" in some forms of combat. And during combat he adapts his technique according to necessity, provided he has mastery of that particular weapon or move or maneuver.
It need not be used for pure attack rolls only. It could also fit in themed archetypes, sub-classes or whatever you want to call it.
-A gladiator type of fighter could use his Expertise Bonus on a Charisma check to cheer the arena crowd, and gain some sort of inspirational bonus if successful.
-A military leader type could somehow give his Expertise Bonus to rolls made by his troops.
And so on...
Well, it's an idea...
Surely it needs refinement but it's one way to rework Expertise as not an encounter based resource.