Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pathfinder Musing: Fighter Revisions

Like the Rogue, I like the concept of the Fighter. I enjoy playing combat-focused characters, individuals who've spend many years either training to become masters at the art of fighting or happened to be students of the school of hard knocks. While I love playing spellcasters, sometimes its just fun to pick up a big sword and beat the ever-living shit out of something.

With that being said, Pathfinder's Fighter is lacking in a few mechanical departments. Don't get me wrong, Pathfinder's version of this class is much better than the 3rd Edition & 3.5 Edition one. However, it still needs a few tweaks here and there to make it the best around and make sure nothing can ever keep it down. 

My apologizes if you're now humming some Joe Esposito.

With mechanical tweaks in mind, I've created a few house rules to make the Fighter just a little better and I have a few more ideas I've not implemented yet but feel would be pretty cool.

The first change I made to the Fighter is to the number of skill ranks it receives each level. Originally, the Fighter received 2 + Intelligence modifier skill ranks per level. This was pitiful and usually meant players of the class had to be very picky with their choices, which also ended up making the class not as mechanically useful outside of combat. Now, within my games, the Fighter receives 4 + Intelligence modifier skill ranks per level. Archetypes that raise the Fighter's number of skill ranks still do this, but now they go to 6 instead of 4. 

I actually recommend doing this for every class that receives only 2 + Intelligence modifier skill ranks and doesn't have Intelligence as a primary ability score. It has worked wonders for my game.

The second alteration I made was to the Fighter's options when selecting certain combat feats. Whenever a Fighter selects a combat feat that requires him to select a specific weapon, he can select a weapon group listed on pg 56 of the Core Rulebook instead. I'll give an example. Let's say Valeros the Fighter grabs Weapon Focus at 1st level as one of his bonus feats. Normally, he'd have to select a specific weapon, like a longsword or a battleaxe. Now, he could select the heavy blades weapon group, receiving the benefits of the feat with every weapon belonging to that group. Anyone else can pick up these feats, but the Fighter gets more utility out of them. 

I have a few other changes I've been contemplating for awhile, but haven't implemented yet. The easiest to implement would be giving the Fighter an ability similar to the Brawler's Cunning ability, allowing them to treat an Intelligence score that's lower than 13 as if it were a 13 for the purpose of meeting certain feat prerequisites like Combat Expertise. 

The second change would be much more drastic, requiring me to actually rebuild the class to make it work. I've mentioned it before on this blow, but I'll go ahead and do it again: The Gritty Fighter. This version of the class would receive a pool of points similar to the Gunslinger and the Swashbuckler, possibly called "Prowess", they could spend to perform amazing deeds. As an example, a 1st level fighter would have three deeds to spend their prowess points on. These deeds could be one similar to the Cavalier's Challenge ability, one similar to the Gunslinger's Dodge deed, and one similar to the Swashbuckler's Derring-Do deed. Each of these deeds would cost 1 prowess point to use. This would help make the class much more interesting and give Fighter players some cool options during and outside of combat. I have some rough notes about implementing this idea, but I still need to give them a test and make some revisions before I post them for the world to see.

What about you? Do you have any house rules for the Pathfinder Fighter? What are they? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.