Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fighter Options: Fighter & Knight (4E, Next)

Class Options allow you to add particular classes into 13th Age without the need of extensive reinventing of the wheel, so to speak.  Instead of having to make an entirely new class, re-flavoring and adding of a few talents and powers here and there would allow you to faithfully render the class you want, with less effort.

The class featured here is the Fighter (as well as its subclass, the Knight).  While it might seem redundant that I write about translating Fighters to Fighters, the fact of the matter is, 4E Fighters have unique class features that none of the 13th Age Fighter talents even try to duplicate, most notably the marking mechanic and its Essentials version, the Defender Aura.  Also, D&D Next has been providing some interesting features for the Fighter that are also worth exploring.

Re-Flavoring Suggestions

Allow the Fighter to take the Paladin's Challenge talent as written (rename to Combat Challenge if desired).

New Talents

Combat Superiority
You gain +1 to damage per level with your attacks. At the start of your turn, as a free action you can choose to forfeit this damage bonus until the start of your next turn to gain temporary hit points equal to the damage bonus lost. The temporary hit points disappear at the start of your next turn.
Once per day, as a quick action you can forfeit this damage bonus to allow your next attack during this turn to trigger a Fighting Maneuver, even if you fail to meet the triggering roll.
(Adventurer Feat): You can use the daily ability a second time between extended rests
(Champion Feat): Once per day, you can double the damage increase (or damage reduction) granted by this talent for an entire battle
(Epic Feat): Your daily ability allows you to use two maneuvers simultaneously

Defender Aura
While you are conscious, enemies engaged with you take a –1 attack penalty against your allies.
Once per battle when you're engaged with an enemy affected by your defender aura and it either attacks an ally of yours or willingly disengages/pops free from you, you can make a melee attack dealing half-damage against that enemy as a free action.
(Adventurer Feat): On an even miss with your Defender Aura attack, you deal extra damage to the enemy you attacked equal to your Strength modifier.
(Champion Feat): Once per day you can use Defender Aura's attack for the duration of a battle, but only once per turn.
(Epic Feat): Each nearby enemy takes a -1 attack penalty against your allies, instead of just those engaged with you.
GM Note: If the Fighter runs or teleports away from the enemy after using the ability, feel free to ignore it. The Fighter needs to confront the creatures he engages.

No Escape
You gain a +3 on the "Relentless Harrier" background. Whenever an enemy attempts to disengage or pop free from you, explain how your character maneuvers the enemy in such a way that he cannot actually shake you off (e.g. you knock him prone, physically block his way using your weapon or shield, you psyche him out, etc.), then roll an appropriate ability check as determined by the GM (GM Note: please consider including the Relentless Harrier bonus unless it is really not applicable for that situation). At the very least, a success would force the enemy to stay engaged with you.
(Adventurer Feat): The bonus to the Relentless Harrier background increases to +5
(Champion Feat): A success would also provoke an opportunity attack
Author's Note: The No Escape talent would represent 4E's Combat Superiority + Combat Agility class features.

Steel Rain
Once per day for an entire battle, as long as you can take actions you can deal damage equal to your level as a free action at the start of your turn against each creature engaged with you.
At the end of the battle after using this talent, roll a d20.  On a 16+, you can use it again later in the day.
(Adventurer Feat): Once per battle plus a number of times per day equal to your Constitution modifier, you can cause each creature engaged with you to take a -2 penalty to hit and disengage checks for a round as a quick action.
(Champion Feat): Whenever you kill a creature with this talent during a battle, you reduce the needed roll to regain the use of this talent at the end of that same battle by one.
(Epic Feat): Twice per day but only once per round, when you kill a non-mook creature with this talent, your critical range increases by one (first time you use this increases the crit range to 19+).

Cunning Retort
Once per battle, make a check (usually Charisma) against the highest MD among the nearby enemies.  On a success each nearby enemy would be dazed until the end of your next turn unless they choose to make a melee attack against you during their turn. If they do make a melee attack against you, make an opportunity attack the moment they engage with you.
(Adventurer Feat): The opportunity attacks made with Cunning Retort gain a +4 to hit.
(Champion Feat): Each enemy that is affected by Cunning Retort take an additional -4 to attack rolls (for a total of -8 with daze) if they choose not to make a melee attack against you.
(Epic Feat): Once per day enemies are weakened instead of dazed by Cunning Retort.
Author's Note: The default assumption is that, just like the classic loudmouthed duelists in movies, you'll be encouraging your enemies to attack you by taunting or bluffing them (hence, Charisma).  The situational daze would represent their hesitation to attack anyone other than you once you've got their attention.  Epic level warriors would be so daunting -- almost commanding -- that the enemies he taunts would be shaken enough to render themselves vulnerable to attacks and unable to effectively counter-attack unless they man up against the guy that's taunting them.

You treat your punches as if they were Light (1d6) weapons.
(Champion Feat): Whenever you grab an opponent (GM determines how you grab and what effects they would be), any attempts to break free from the grab take an additional penalty equal to your Strength modifier.
GM Note: If you're at a loss regarding "grab rules", here's a suggestion: Standard Action vs. One engaged enemy, Strength vs. PD, Hit: target takes a -2 to disengage checks while engaged with you.  "Grab" doesn't necessarily need to be limited to hands -- stepping on someone's feet, or even tackling them would work too -- but for the sake of simplicity I'll be using the term "grab".  Also I do not take credit for this suggestion, as this suggestion can be found in the 13th Age main book, so if there's anyone to thank, that'd be Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet for their remarkable product coming out in 2013.

Players Note: Feel free to do what you want with the enemy you grabbed -- battering ram, projectile, meat shield -- and make it awesome.

New Flexible Attacks

Invigorating Surge
Level 1 Flexible Melee Attack
Triggering Roll: Hit with a 16+
Effect: Gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.
(Adventurer Feat): Once per day you can cause the enemy to make a hard save.  If he fails his save, roll a 1d4.  On a 1, he is dazed, on a 2, everyone is invisible to him (he is blinded), on a 3 he is weakened, and on a 4 he is stunned.  These effects last until the end of his next turn.
(Champion Feat): Once per day you can choose to spend a recovery but gain no hit points.  Instead, increase the temporary hit points granted by this flexible attack, by an amount equal to your recovery.

Grab n' Bag
Level 3 Flexible Melee Attack
Triggering Roll: Any natural even roll
Special: One of your appendages (usually your hands) should be free to grab
Effect: You can attempt to grab an engaged enemy as a free action.


  1. My idea for incorporating 4E encounter powers into 13th Age was to have a talent that says you can get a 4E encounter power of either 1st or 3rd level (I haven't decided which). Then you would have feats that let you switch out the power for one of a higher level. So an Adventurer Feat would let you take a better Heroic-tier power, the Champions Feat would be for a Paragon-tier power, and the Epic Feat for an Epic-level power.

    When a player wants to use an encounter power, they use it instead of a flexible attack.

    The way I was gong to convert the powers was this: if the power dealt 1 weapon die of damage, I would have the 13th Age character perform a basic attack with the conditions/actions of the power inflicted on a hit. If the power dealt 2 weapon dice of damage, it would be the same as above except 1 extra damage die would be added in as well. (A power that dealt 3 weapon dice would add 2 more damage dice on a hit). Does that make sense?

    1. Tried it, didn't like it, which is why most of my conversions don't utilize it. Felt too artificial, especially when you consider how 4E powers never actually scaled (save for basic attacks and at-wills), whereas basic attacks in 13th Age automatically scaled.

      If you're persistent on that route, might I add the following:
      * anything whose range is 5 or less is "Nearby"
      * anything whose range is beyond 5 is "Far Away"
      * if you want to take the charge action into consideration, adjust the distances so "Nearby" is 10 or less, while "Far Away" is beyond 10 squares
      * Immobilize prevents disangaging, or at the very least inflicts -2 to disengage checks
      * Slow inflicts -2 to disengage checks
      * Ongoing damage in 13th Age stacks so always check that when converting stuff
      * Quick Action attacks thoroughly ruined the action economy of 4E especially when you note how Rangers could take two minor action attacks on top of multi-action attacks. Be particularly careful considering how 13th Age Rangers also have access to multi-attacks with their basic attacks
      * If you want to inflict Daze (maybe call it the Staggered condition), be my guest. I'd rather give PCs a chance to significantly contribute in spite of the Daze, than tell them "you can only take one action in this round"
      * Prone does not exist in 13th Age, so you might want to consider "-2 to disengage checks unless you spend a move action to negate it"
      * Damage on a miss is far more powerful in 13th Age than in 4E due to the fact that 13th Age minions (mooks) don't have the "can't take damage on a miss" clause of minions unless you rule it into your game
      * There is no marked condition, and the only way you're really going to get it in is by literally transplanting it from 4E to 13th Age (the closest equivalent would be the Paladin's Challenge mechanic, which is exactly why I included it here as a reflavoring option).
      * You may want to consider including Paragon Path features as talents as well, given the absence of such in 13th Age.

    2. Actually Immobilize and Slow don't exist in 13th Age either, but given that the "rules" on grab in 13th Age boil down to "-2 to disengage checks" *assuming you need an actual mechanical rule for it* (apparently they're encouraging GMs to decide for themselves how they'd actually approach grapples and the like), I see no reason to create the immobilized and slow conditions.

  2. I should note that all of the above was focused on improving the 13th Age fighter, although I had considered using the same approach for the Barbarian, Paladin and Ranger.

  3. 4E powers scale really poorly when placed in the 13th Age environment. By your conversion, the level 29 daily power of a Fighter that deals 7[W]+STR damage would deal an average of 106 damage (44 ~ 178, or 16[W]+STR*3 damage), which is less than half a monster's HP in 13th Age. That same power in 4E, using a +6 magic weapon for basic comparison, would be doing 14d6+16, or 65 average damage, which is around 20% of an equivalent monster's HP.

    Such a conversion might work for an overly simplistic conversion of 4E to 13th Age, but that is also assuming that all the conditions and effects of powers translate perfectly. Which doesn't happen, especially when Immobilize, Slow, Daze, Marked, and Combat Advantage come into play, none of which have an actual equivalent in 13th Age, although the closest would be "can't disengage", "has a penalty to disengage", "can only take one action", "has a penalty to hit anyone else other than you", and "creatures have a bonus to attack rolls equal to X" (either that or -X to defenses).

    If it was as simple as giving each class a talent that effectively reads "see the 4E equivalent of this class and poach a [daily/encounter] power from it" with feats that effectively state "replace the power you got from this talent with a higher level power that looks exactly like it, but better", I'm not seeing the excitement.

    In fact, I would rather recommend a 13th Age to 4E conversion of mechanics if that were the case.

    1. I'm not clear on this. Are you saying my conversion would be too powerful or not powerful enough?

    2. Both. There will be times when a power becomes far more powerful than what the algorithms of the system would normally take into account, and there will be times when, because of the lack of equivalents in 13th Age, a power might be deemed completely useless (e.g. Slow, given the lack of movement speed, or how the lack of scaling with tempHP-related powers would make them useless come Champion or Epic tier -- save for those that are tied to the healing surge mechanic -- and how Immobilize might be considered redundant due to how the Disengage mechanic already discourages movement to some degree).

      This is why I combine both the fluff and mechanics of powers as presented in 4E then interpret the powers as talents, maneuvers, spells, or whatever seems appropriate. And like I mentioned in my conversion guidelines, sometimes conversions would be absolutely redundant due to the nature of the system.

      Converting stuff isn't always as simple as taking one element of a game and jamming it into another with little to no tweaks; you need to understand both systems to grasp not only the mechanics themselves but the intent of the mechanics -- the dynamics that the mechanics intend to bring out, and the emotion or aesthetic that is meant to be drawn as a result of the various dynamics.

    3. I understand that not everything can be translated directly, and so I would only select the powers that work the best in 13th Age. The main question I have concerns damage because that's the easiest to quantify. In your specific example of the 29th level power, is that damage too high or too low? If it's too high then I can just use lower level powers.

    4. Actually, most of the 4E powers are too weak compared to 13th Age abilities. Compare (using your conversion method, assuming 22 STR, level 10, and mundane weapon):

      4E No Mercy level 29 Daily: 16d10+18 damage. Average: 106
      13th Age Power Attack talent: 10d10+10d6+18 damage. Average: 108

      4E Indomitable Battle Strike level 27 Encounter: 13d10+18 damage, marks everyone within 10 squares (assuming charging range, that's roughly everyone nearby suffering -2 to hit anyone except you). Average: 89

      Utilizing the custom talent Defender Aura as written above: 10d10+18 damage at-will, everyone nearby suffers -1 to hit anyone except you. Average: 73 (83 when combined with Combat Superiority talent, or 108 when combined with Power Attack talent).

      4E Diamond Shield Defense encounter power: 13d10+18 damage also, has exactly the same 1/encounter benefit as the Armor talent.

      - - - - -
      Honestly, the Fighter abilities are nice, but they're designed with only minor scaling in mind, mostly in the form of power swapping, equipment etc. 13th Age's scaling is already built-in, and a lot of the stuff powers give you aren't exactly unique to themselves. Which is why you're better off either reflavoring, or taking the power, distilling it to its roots, and then incorporating them into the system.

      And maybe it's just me, but there aren't really that many powers that are worth converting IMHO. Harrying Assault for instance sort of exists already in 13th Age's Spinning Charge ability. Same with a lot of the Fighter healing powers, which the Tough as Iron talent -- and even the regular Rally action -- effectively replaces for the most part.

    5. One suggestion I can give if you don't like Flexible Attacks is to simply make them encounter powers (dailies if they're harder to trigger) that you choose before you attack.

      Another thing to remember for converting stuff is that you really ought to ignore the powers that add accuracy, as the escalation die handles that already PLUS the only feat that gives a consistent +1 to attack rolls is an epic tier feat that also requires you to cut off your hand and feet (not to mention that it's a Sorcerer-exclusive thing).

    6. If converted on a literal basis, all Fighter powers that daze can be considered either VERY powerful or quite useless, if not downright redundant. The Blind condition is not too different from 13th Age's Daze condition; meanwhile the 4E Daze condition is commonplace enough that you can easily lock down opponents even in 4E, but all the more in 13th Age due to the lack of bonuses to saving throws especially on the part of monsters (unless you would like to state that the difficulty of saves increases or decreases depending on monster type). Stun is more powerful in 13th Age than in 4E due to the fact that not only do you negate actions, but you also make the creature more vulnerable to attacks (that's not +2 from combat advantage mind you, but a -4 to defenses, which makes it doubly as effective as combat advantage).

      Powers that allow shifting or moving are almost unnecessary due to how the basic assumption is that everyone is moving, although the cleanest translation for shifting would be to freely disengage or pop out from engagement (like how Shield Bash works).

      Dual wielding does happen with the Fighter in 4E, but as far as I can tell, you might as well just either pilfer from the Ranger class, or build a Ranger class character who has "Fighter" on his class name, and maybe with the GM's discretion allow him access to at least one Fighter talent.

  4. I would not hold it against you if you would implement those talents on your table -- in fact it could be considered a great contribution to this blog, given the nature of the thing -- but in an effort to keep to 13th Age design combined with what I feel is a redundancy on the part of 4E, I'd rather keep to actually making talents, flexible attacks, and feats that focus on the spirit of the powers being translated, rather than just going the short route of "pick a 4E power, use it in 13th Age as is".

    Just like how 4E took a lot of the 3E and older materials and made powers out of feats, features, etc., reinvisioning them and making them actually work within the new system. Because honestly there's a lot of stuff in 4E that when you think about it, works exactly the same in 3E or older, just presented and utilized in a different manner.

  5. Loving the blog so far. I just wanted to chime in and say that this is how I've converted Slow:

    "On a hit the target must roll a normal save (11+) for its next move action; on a failure it doesn't reach its destination (your attack slowed it down)."

    1. Thanks Brian :) That's not a bad idea, actually. What if we have it as "Creatures who are slowed move half the distance they could normally travel"? So if you use zones, anything past a few inches could be considered far away (and anything far away as unreachable), and if you use square grids and the normal movement speed is 6 (30'), you could only travel 3 (15').

      Gonna add a little update here in a moment, primarily concerning brawler fighters :)