Friday, June 8, 2012

Alternate Fighter For, like, D&D and stuff like that

This is pretty much a new fighter from the ground up.

It's based most explicitly on the Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy RPG fighter because that ruleset is free to download and pretty simple and just like most D&Ds, but this fighter here should be roughly compatible with all Old School games. Roughly compatible like: In the way Greg Ginn's guitar was roughly compatible with Rollins' vocals. Like...just off enough to be interesting.

-differentiates PCs mechanically a little more
-suggests a slightly more D&Dish, pile-of-goblin-skulls and less Cthulhu-esque-monster-of-the-week background than LOTFP, and
-makes levelling up a little more fun than it usually is.

Theoretically, you could also switch to this system in the middle of any D&D game at any time instead of taking whatever the usual level-up package in your game is, though you need to keep track of your own attack bonus and your own saves.


When you level up as a fighter in LOTFP 3 things happen: more hit points, attack bonus goes up, saves might get better. So in this...

WARRIOR (Fighter Variant) start with your normal 0 level hit points and saves. Write those down.

At first level, and each time you level up, you get your hit points as usual, but instead of the attack bonus and saves improving on a schedule, you roll twice on this table. Do what it says--there are also indicators of what to do if you re-roll that same result over again in places where that's hard to figure out...

1-30 +1 to hit. Trust me, you'll be glad you have it.

31-50 +1 to all your saves Aren't you mr special goose? Or ms special goose

51-55 In battle there is no law, but you're kinda in charge. Once per fight you can give any other PC an extra non-attack (that is: not a traditional "roll to hit, roll for damage" type weapon attack), non-spellcasting action. Re-rolling this lets you do it one more time per fight.

56-57 When you hit things they tend to stay hit: +1 damage. If you roll this again it jumps to +3, then +5, +7 etc

58-59 You have learned where not to stand. +2 to jumping out of the way (reflex save, breath weapon save whatever it's called in your system). +1 thereafter if you re-roll this.

60-61 You smoke less and have been getting some exercise. +2 vs toxins, poisons and whatever other saves might be considered derivable from your general good health in the system you're using.

62-63 You've gotten real good at shoving. On a melee hit you can do your usual damage plus knock a human-sized opponent back ten feet. If you try it twice on the same opponent they get a save or str check or something against you. If you roll this result again you get 2 free shoves before the saves kick in. After that, re-roll.

64-65 You're good at getting people out of your way. On a melee hit you can do your usual damage plus knock a human-sized opponent prone. If you try it twice on the same opponent they get a save or str check or something against you. If you roll this result again on this table, you get 2 free knockdowns before the saves kick in, then 4, etc. After that, re-roll.

66-67 You're good at aiming for the fingers. On a hit you can do your ordinary damage plus disarm an opponent if they fail a simple str check. If you reroll this result they get a penalty to their check, +1, then +2 etc.

68-69 You're grabby as fuck. On a melee hit on a human-sized or smaller opponent you can do your ordinary damage plus your opponent is grabbed if they fail a strength check. Note grabbing is not always what it's cracked up to be since now you're vulnerable to attack from elsewhere, but enjoy it while it lasts. If you reroll this result they get a penalty to their check, +1, then +2 etc.

70-71 You've been getting out and meeting new people. You are now +2 to hit from horseback or +2 to hit in unarmed combat or +2 to hit with a bow or crossbow. Your choice. If you eventually roll all of those and keep re-rolling this result, you start getting +2s to weird fighting situations you can make up, like fighting blind or on fire or whatever GM approval blah blah blah

72-73 Finally! A second attack per round. You divide your attack bonus however you like between opponents/strikes. You get an extra attack per round every time you re-roll this result.

74-75 Christ you're big. +2 to checks to intimidate people. +2 when your re-roll this thereafter, you're getting like Wolverine scary.

76-77 You shall be splintered! Basically you can use the Shields Shall Be Splintered rule on a limb of your choice: A single hit that normally would have killed you just maimed you instead. You lose an arm below the elbow or leg below the knee, your choice. If you re-roll this you can "bank" another one or, if you've already lost a limb, the next time you get magically healed it comes back.

78 AHA!!! You've heard a rumor in a tavern--that thing you wanted? The riding panther? The Axe of Ninety Nymphs? That king totally willing to lend you his army? The parasitic extra limb that grants you immortality? That romantic subplot? It's there. 4 sessions worth of adventure away or less. Tell your GM, who then must place it.

You must have a fair shot at it--like any other treasure, but there's no guarantee you will get it. If you don't get it by the fourth session you can keep trying or let it go and roll again on this table. However if you choose to roll again and then you do get the thing somehow anyway, you lose whatever gimmick you rolled. GM think up some clever reason why.

79 Your smashingness inspires awe in lesser beings. You have an exceptionally (though not supernaturally) intelligent and loyal henchman, hound or horse (your choice). This individual cannot be slain, kidnapped or otherwise traduced "offscreen" by the GM, so if he or she's in trouble and your PC is not around you get to play it out. Of you re-roll this and your previous one is not dead, you get to add another hit die to your pal.

80-81 You're totally a skullsplitter. Your crit range extends by one. Now you double damage on a 19 or 20. Keep rolling this and it keeps extending.

82-83 You get those sunken eyes like Bronn in Game of Thrones. Immune to fear. If you re-roll this, your companions gain a +2 vs fear if they can see you, then +4 etc

84-86 Hold fools! I hear something.... Which of the following environments has your PC spent the most time fighting in: city, dungeon, wilderness, desert, or sea? Whichever it is, you can now anticipate wandering monsters a round ahead of time in that environment and are immune to nonmagic surprise there. If you re-roll this again you can pick a second environment or get an extra round of anticipation.

87-88 You have learned to aim jusssst above the eyes. When fighting an opponent with adjacent eyes you can do your normal damage plus partially blind it by getting blood in its eyes. It'll take the opponent an action to wipe the blood away and this trick only works once on any given opponent. If you re-roll this it takes two actions to wipe away, if you re-roll it again you can totally de-eye an opponent on a successful hit, if you re-roll it a fourth time then just re-roll until you get a different result.

89-90 You've been like hunting and stuff with your Ranger friends. You can now knock prone or shove anything that is animal intelligence up to the size of a bear in addition to also doing usual damage on a successful melee hit. Subsequently re-rolling this result gives you a +2 to damage vs animal-intelligence foes.

91-92 You have learned the Impetuous Immortal Leaping Strike. You leap six feet in the air and for a mere -2 to hit you can do double damage if you connect. You can't pull it twice on the same foe (even if you miss) and it's kinda exhausting and puts you in a bad position, defensively--you cannot attack in the round afterwards. If you re-roll this, the damage goes up by 2 points each time.

93 Hey whoa, been going to the gym, huh? +1str up to racial max. Numbers in excess go to con or dex.

94 Hey whoa, been doing like laps in pools of the tears of the families of your fallen foes? +1 con up to racial max. Numbers in excess go to str or dex.

95 You have an annoying drinking buddy who thinks throwing like wadded up paper at you is fun. +1 dex up to racial max. Numbers in excess go to str or con.

96-97 You have become unbelievably metal. You do triple damage on a crit. Re-roll this: you do quadruple, etc.

98-99 You're like a decapitator. If you roll a natural 20 against something with a head in melee and its level/HD is equal to or less than yours, it does not have a head anymore. Re-rolling this means you can do it against things your level or one higher, then 2 higher, etc.

00 Ab..ra...kaaaa..what? Holy hell, someone managed to teach you a spell. The formula is bouncing around in your brain dying to be unleashed. It's any spell you want, up to 8th level, and it will work as if cast by a 15th level Wizard. It will work once, period. Ever. You have to be able to speak in order for it to work but no other restrictions apply.

The Warrior must not become dazzled by the embarrassment of combatly options. You get 10 seconds to pick what you're doing once it's your turn, got it?

In addition, the Warrior gets one other gimmick.

Warriors count foes slain (Michael Moscrip's idea, but spontaneously invented by fighter players everywhere since D&D began)--race and number.

For each combatant of a species (human, goblin, dragon, etc.) slain in-game (Warrior delivers the killing blow) the Warrior makes a notch. Once per encounter with that species (any time during the encounter), the Warrior's player may assess the creature. You assess by rolling percentile dice--
-if the first d10 is under the number slain, the AC, current hit points, and attack bonus of the creature are known,
-if the 2 d10s, taken as a 2-digit number, are lower than the total slain, the Warrior knows what the creature will do in the next round of combat (action and target, if any).

Swarms don't count, max is 90, slain after that just goes to bragging rights at your FLGS.

GMs are free to determine what constitutes a "species", fighters are free to bore everyone by killing endless orcs in their little orc sentry pits for no reason just to notch up, and the other players are free to have a little talk with them if they abuse these rights and perhaps should view them doing so as a nice little red flag.


Feel free to kick the tires on this. I am amenable to suggestions.

I am fond of the "big d100 table to level up" idea but then I would be, right?


jacinto said...

This makes me want to play LotFP really badly, but I think stuff like this would freak my Fourth Edition players out a little. Do you think this would translate well for other classes?

Zak Sabbath said...


Yeah. You;d have to do spellcasters a little different, but assuming players who are cool with random customization and GMs who are ok with building encounters for a swingy swingy game then yeah.

John Matthew Stater said...

Reminds me of Gamma World - groovy. Also - would be great for whipping up a unique NPC.

Jeff Rients said...

I wanna see one of these in my campaign.

Zak Sabbath said...

Done. Buz of Nephilidia, +1 to hit and gives another PC a thing each round. See you in Jehosemaboam or wherever.

Orthas said...

Kinda similar to magic in DCCRPG. You roll random stuff for each spell.

Seconded tho what mattgusta said, make one for each class. Especially the thief one would be amusing.

joe said...

The Rankin and Bass image is giving me flashbacks.

wrathofzombie said...

As always Zak, you impress. Damn you!

Any plans to do this type of alternate class thing for all the other classes?

Zak Sabbath said...


Gus L said...

I wanna love this, it's full of good, but it leaves me sort of cold. I like the idea of variation among fighters, but I fear this road, it opens thing to creepy power-gaming, and begins to push into finicky distance based tactical combat. Next thing you know the thief starts bitching that he doesn't get new powers and then two sessions later a 1/2 draconian 1/2 drow vampire druid/paladin at the table.

I guess my real concern is that it seems too random, too all over the place and too complex for my kind of game. I could enjoy something where every few levels (heck based on the fighter doing something insanely fighterish)the GM gives a choice. I.E. "You're more experienced now and the way you've been fighting all those orcs with that two-handed axe seems to have changed you."

"Do you you want to use the next bit of downtime to practice brutal orc-style axe fighting (+1 to crit range), lift weights so you can fight with the axe easier (+1 Strength), just say damn it all and ruminate over the mayhem you've caused and the frailty of life (Bronn eyes)or maybe something else?"

I am a conservative though, and I love watching my players' characters slowly evolve through play.

Zak Sabbath said...

Well everybody's different. To my mind no power gamer in their right mind would go near this class because there's no choice--you roll and you get what you get. this class is not, on average, any more powerful than the regular fighter aside from the "notching" at the end, which is a little thing.

I also purposefully designed the abilities so they either just happened (roll a 20-it happened, bang) or they opened up creative space: "this happens, it isn't that great by itself, but if you can use it in a clever way it's great" rather than things which always grant a specific math trade-off advantage that you have to weigh every round.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Well uh, this is a pretty small tire-kick, but the Leaping Strike (91-92) is not... very good. I don't think I would ever use it if I got it; it basically means -2 to hit for the same amount of average damage over two rounds as you would have anyway. I think instead of costing you your next attack the defensively shitty position could maybe just give -2 AC in the next round?

Zak Sabbath said...

Well what do you think of it as an "oh no, I;ve got to take this guy out right now in this round or we're all screwed!" ability rather than a "use it every encounter" ability?

That's what I was thinking.

Craig A. Glesner said...

Wow, Zak, this is fucking awesome! I would totally play one of these Fighters. Thanks again for more coolness.

Gus L said...

Fair enough, perhaps I read through the new "powers" too quickly and just got a bit overwhelmed thinking "What would happen if a fighter had all of these things - he'd be unstoppable" and didn't really think that a fighter of 29th or so level (who even does that?) would already be a horror.

There's nothing in there overpowered by itself - even the 1% for an instant kill move. The pure randomness still rankles me a bit, I might just go GM tyranny on my players with these things based on what they've been up to if I used them.

I think my concern was conservatism - heck I just got back into OD&D style play after many years where the closest thing for me was litigation. Right now the basic rules feel just about crunchy enough. Rediscovering the joys of THACO and all that. Of course giving them to NPC fighters would be a necessity as well I suppose.

Zak Sabbath said...

I'd keep NPC fighters as normal: as I tried to make clear, the power levels should be roughly equal, but having NPCs with too many special abilities would make combats kinda hard to run. I'd just give them the (usually higher) saves and bonuses they're entitled to and let the PCs take a chance on the swingy system.

Necropraxis said...


You could also make a smaller table, with less wacky powers. It would still make the process of levelling up fun.

thekelvingreen said...

One of the things I like in the Dragon Age rpg is the random starting class abilities; I don't recall if you roll for new abilities when you level up, but even so I like it.

This? This is even more fun.

Vulpinoid said...

This reminds me of character advancement in a good way.

Great work.

Anonymous said...

Hm, well, I get the idea, and I guess it depends on the game; in LotFP, where you're never liable to ever see anyone or anything with an AC above 19, it might not be such a big deal, but in Rules Cyclopedia, which has magic armor and dragons, I'd feel pretty leery of using it unless I knew the AC and remaining hit points of the guy. Otherwise I'd probably just try to shove a pillar on him or something, to be honest.

Gus L said...

@ Zak S - Oh absolutely not for guardsmen etc, but when the players meet some guy named "Hurral the Decapitator" or "Underhanded Slazbo" they can't complain when the guy has extra powers.

@Brendan - Were I to use such a system I would be likely to break it down into 3 tables: Skill/Speed Based, Psychological and Strength Based advantages and either let the Player pick one to roll on or decide which got used based on recent adventuring habits.

thekelvingreen said...

The other thing I like about this is that you can use it to incorporate the abilities of the class from any and all editions, and lump them into one table.

MTN said...

Random pc's are what makes me crazy. Every character is different. It's so rogue-like :-) Love it.

Unknown said...

An idea for either a small power you start with or one you can roll and upgrade with:

You have your ‘warrior swaggah’ You are known for some task that you did and the unwashed masses are more favourable to you in warrior/fighter related circumstances.

LOTFP would be 2D6 roll to secure fighter goods blacksmithing, armour, weps, that kind of thing.

Or better reactions from people who would be impressed by fighter types, town guards, mob muscle that kind of thing.

Eg ‘Narr let Jorgen “Beefy” Thaneborjn in to the VIP room. He is that Viking Sumo guy that slapped the slave master of that goblin slaver ship that he smashed through to the hold!” 2D6 on reactions or something
Add dice up to 4D6 then reroll.

I really like the RP ideas that stick with in the fighters for fight realms. Doing stuff that is different from being intimidating or hitting things is fun every once and a while.

Town guards would be impressed if you killed 50 goblins. Using sword/axe/mace all day to do your job would make you the ideal person to talk to a blacksmith, even if its to shoot the breeze and wrangle some new priest an amour upgrade.

I am riffing off your thief underground rep thing here Zak.

Zak Sabbath said...

that's definitely the kind of thing I'd allow to happen as a GM, I just figured I'd give each class one "book-keeping" ability based on what the players of that class typically actually do like keep track of. It is fun, if you;re a fighter, to notch kills so I based the book-keeping ability on that to give that activity a little more mechanical weight.
But I see no reason a high level or accomplished fighter wouldn't be impressive to people who knew about him.