Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fighter Knowledge

I eventually want to give players little booklets specific to their class.  Not brand new players, and maybe it could wait until 2nd or 3rd level, but I want them to know their options.  So MUs would have info on copying spells, material components, and magic research.  For fighters I wasn't sure what I'd put, though.  Other than splintering shields and maybe some fighting orders they can join, there isn't much fighters know outside of combat.

So here are some ideas of bits of knowledge fighters might bring to an adventure party.  This assumes a first level fighter isn't a bumpkin straight from the village, they at least participated in some raids, some hunting parties, and battles (or you could just hold off and give these to players at a higher level):

Hone a Weapon - You know your weapons.  Spend one night in camp, no healing or watches, and you can ready a non-fighter's weapon to perfection.  This means sharpening blades, fixing grips, even whittling staves to improve balance.  This will give the owner a non-magical +1 while using that weapon for one battle.

Quiet Armor - You've had some experience with stealthy assaults.  Spend one night in camp, no healing or watches, and using rags and a little lantern oil you can make one suit of metal armor as quiet as leather.  Lasts one battle or one day whichever comes first.

Experienced Packer - You've spent time traveling with gear.  Spend an hour and you can rearrange someone else's pack to hold a bit more (another line for simple encumbrance, or ~10 pounds) with no added effect on their movement.  This lasts until they add or remove something from their pack.

Hunter's Stew - You know how to cook one type of game excellently.  If you cook it, everyone that eats in camp will heal an extra hit point that night. Only works two nights in a row.

Defensible Camp - You know a good place to set up camp when you see it.  Once a week you find one that makes your party less likely to be surprised and more likely to gain initiative if attacked (+1.+1).

Rouse a Comrade - You've been in hard fights before.  When someone is knocked unconscious in combat you can take a round to get them on their feet and moving toward safety (pcs at 0 will be raised to one hit point).  You can only do this for them once a battle.


  1. I like these. They're flavorful without crossing the line into 4e-ish powers.

  2. ACKS has an "Adventuring" proficiency that all PCs start with ("...He knows how to clean and sharpen weapons, saddle and ride a horse, set up a camp, and search for a secret door. He has a rough idea of the value of common coins, trade goods, gems, and jewelry..."), and several of these feel like interesting ways to add if the players take 'picks' of Adventuring as they level up.

  3. These are cool. Definately gonna use em

  4. Being able to estimate foes' levels and hp, or assess weapon quality and magic, are also definitely worthwhile skills.

  5. Those all look good to me :-)

    If you're still looking for something more to add maybe some sort of system laid out to facilitate crazy combat stunts? Something that makes fighters a little more likely than other classes to be able to throw sand in the eyes or swing from chandeliers, like the Mighty Deeds of Arms in DCC.

  6. Jousting, mass combat, naval warfare, leading small commando teams?

  7. Very nice! I like Roger's suggestions too. Maybe wrap in Blog of Holding's thing about training up 0-level hirelings to fight.

  8. Another thing to consider is Fighter as the social class. Using the Fighter/Wizard/Cleric classic trio being it town; Wizard is going to be in his room or at the library studying magic. Cleric is going to be at the local shrine/church listening to confessions or doing the local version of the holy rituals for the commoners. The fighter, on the other hand, will be out drinking with the local guards/farmers/etc and picking up the local gossip.

    Another thing to consider is giving the fighter something along the lines of a fame mechanic. Depending on your style of game it could easily be said that fighters are the ones that get all the good reputation. Wizards are seen as crazy delvers into things man was not meant to know, nobody really wants a agent of the judging gods hanging around making them feel guilty, but the fighter is the 'normal guy' who gets all the fame and invited to all the cool parties.

    Just two ideas for non-combat things that could be fighter areas of expertise.

  9. Thanks for the great comments, everyone.

    While you mention some abilities that could certainly work for fighters, I should probably clarify the problem I was trying to address.

    It wasn't so much to make fighters more powerful or give them more abilities, but to make their players feel useful, and engaged outside of combat. That's why all these deal with helping others in the party.

    Another thing I didn't mention, but that I was shooting for was making the ol' campsite less abstract. I love Talysman's houserule that freshly cooked food will help you heal better. It makes players want to actually prepare camp and not just handwave it. With these abilities I was hoping for the same effect. Your fighters can be cooking or sharpening blades while the wizards are scribing scrolls.

    With that in mind, here are a few ideas that come from your suggestions:
    @Roger: I like the idea that players learn monster toughness through experience, I think it would drain a lot of tension if the fighter knew exactly how tough each foe they were facing was. But they should probably recognize martial stances and training. Maybe let them recognize fighter classed foes and whether they are below, equal, or better in ability than themselves (or their comrades).

    Recognizing weapon quality is practical.

    @Brendan: Maybe something to do with estimating the size of hosts (there are more than 10,000 men in that camp) or boosting morale with normally non-fighterly types; give the peasants the old Braveheart speech.

    @cityofdoors: Drinking Songs. I like the idea that by drinking and singing with local fighters they might learn something about the town and even get improved reaction rolls for the rest of the party.

    I was also thinking of something to do with recognizing the quality of horseflesh, but left it out because it depends a lot on a campaign whether pcs would have had horse experience at low level.

    @mike: I'm not familiar with your Blog of Holding reference. I went looking but couldn't find it. Could you give me a link?

  10. Another way that fighters can be expanded, is to show how they plug into the world better, like mentioned by cityofdoors. In addition, a section explaining how the political system of your world works might make sense, since fighter types are most typically the ones who fit into the feudal world, particularly at higher levels.

    So explaining how they can become squires and knights and be granted a fief may be useful.

  11. Thanks for this post, it really helped me solidify a house rule I was working on for a simple camping system. You gave me some good ideas for fighter/warrior activities while camping. It also fits surprisingly well with preventing weapon notching in the system I saw over at