Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D20 House Rule: Favored Weapon

Let's get things out of the way: the Fighter class in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 sucks.  Not to say that it can't be made effective, or that nobody will ever find it fun to play, but the class simply can't compete on the same level as some of the more powerful classes such as the Wizard, Cleric, and Druid.  Part of the reason this situation arises is likely due to the fact that a fighter's only real class feature is bonus feats, but the fighter will eventually run out of good feats to select, at which point his rate of power level gain will slow.

One of the things that I'd like to do for Tologan-Var is re-evaluate the feats in order to make them more powerful, but I also happened to stumble across the concept of modular weapons in a forum thread.  I don't really like the idea of modular weapons as such (to me, it feels as though the idea removes the already-tenuous connection weapons have to their historical counterparts and turns equipment into nothing more than a mechanical manipulation).  One idea that was suggested in the thread that I can get behind, however, was the suggestion that a fighter may be able to invest more points into his weapon as he levels up.  As such, I have the following class feature as a concept:

Favored Weapon (ex): At first level, the fighter chooses a Weapon Group that he is proficient in.  He may select one of the following abilities to apply to that group:
  • +1 on attack rolls
  • increase damage dice by one size category
  • Increase critical threat range by 1
  • Increase critical damage multiplier by 1
  • Increase range increment by 50% of original value
At 5th level and every 5 levels afterward, the fighter may select an additional weapon group to apply a single effect to.  In addition, at each such interval, he may apply an extra bonus to one of the weapon groups that he has already selected. (The same bonus cannot be applied to a weapon group more than once).

 Right now, the progression for this class feature matches the Favored Enemy ability of the Ranger class.  I've not yet been able to test this, so I'm unsure as to how balanced it will be.  (My initial idea was much more powerful: The Fighter was receiving an additional effect at every odd level, and could stack multiple effects of the same type, although no more than half+0.5 of his bonuses for a particular weapon type could be invested in a single type of bonus.

One thing I might consider is making the first bonus (for initially selecting a favored weapon) based on the weapon group, and only allowing the choice of effect on the power-up (combined with allowing the Fighter to select the initial bonus a second time).  The abilities might look something like this:

+1 attackBasic, Claw, Monk Weapons
increase damageFlails/Chains, Maces/Clubs, Polearms
increase crit threatHeavy Blades, Light Blades
increase crit multiplierAxes, Picks/Hammers, Spears/Javelins
increase rangeBows, Sling/Thrown, Crossbow

Barbarian variant (ex): At 5th level, a Barbarian gains the benefit of the "Increased Damage" effect for any weapon he wields while raging.  At 10th level, said weapon also benefits from the "Increase Crit Multiplier" effect.  At 15th level, the Barbarian's weapon benefits from two Increase damages while raging, or one while not raging.  At 20th level, the Barbarian's weapon benefits from two increase crit multipliers while raging, or one while not raging.

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