Monday, December 9, 2013

13th Age Options: The Fighter

The Fighter has always been a popular class, and is arguably the most relatable, grounded-in-reality archetype in the game.  D&D (pre 4E) has always treated the Fighter as a simple class, ideal for beginners but without the options to be all that relevant at higher levels.  Many players consider it boring.  In 13th Age, the Fighter is middle of the road in terms of complexity, being manageable for beginners (especially if the more straightforward options are selected), yet with enough dials to keep players who like that kind of stuff engaged.  Some complaints about the class include flexible attacks, which some players feel remove too much narrative agency from the hands of the player (an issue I've addressed before), and the reduction of its tactical "defender" options compared with D&D 4E.  In this article I'll present new Fighter-specific feats and a new Maneuver that address these issues, as well as making a lightly-armored Fighter a more viable option.

New Maneuver

Interpose (1st Level Fighter Maneuver)
Triggering Roll: Any natural even roll
Effect:  An ally engaged with you or the target gains a bonus to AC equal to the higher of your Dexterity or Constitution modifier.  You take an equal penalty to your own AC.
Adventurer Feat:  You may reduce the penalty to your AC by half, rounded down.
Champion Feat: Once per battle you can use this maneuver at-will, without having to trigger it (decide before you make the roll).
Epic Feat:  You may ignore the penalty to AC when you use this maneuver.


Obviously some players will balk at a maneuver that reduces their own AC, but that's missing the point.  This is a tactical maneuver, not a strict power boost.  It's designed to replicate the "mark" of 4E, and its sole purpose is to make the Fighter a more attractive target than the ally he's protecting.  The Fighter is probably tougher with higher AC, HP, and Recovery rolls, so most enemies should logically avoid attacking them and go for the easier quarry first.  By buffing the ally's AC and hurting your own, you tilt that enemy's decision in favor of attacking you. Yes this could allow an enemy attack to hit when it would have missed, but sometimes it's worth the risk if you can take it but your ally can't.

In some ways Fighters already had solid defender abilities with the Threatening class feature, the Skilled Intercept talent, and a handful of maneuvers (Shield Bash, Punish Them, Strong Guard, and Swordmaster's Anticipation), but no real good way of defending an ally while maintaining the position of fighting side by side with them (Strong Guard notwithstanding, but that requires both a shield and that you miss, so it's less likely to trigger when the Escalation Die is higher).  This Maneuver provides that, and with the feat support it can be less dangerous to use.

New Fighter Feats

Reliable Attacker
Adventure: You may opt to use any Maneuver that triggers off of a natural even roll or hit as an at-will power instead.
Champion: Once per battle when using a natural even roll/hit at-will power, you may opt to trade in its effect for another if the roll triggers a Maneuver that you'd like to use instead.
Epic: Once per battle you can trigger a flexible attack with your natural even roll/hit at-will, gaining the effects of both.

Mobile Fighter
Adventure: When wearing light armor you gain a bonus to Disengage rolls and Skilled Intercept saves equal to the higher of your Dexterity or Wisdom modifier.  
Champion:  Once per battle while wearing light armor you gain a free move action that you can use at any time during your turn.  You can use this move action to continue moving after being intercepted if you successfully Disengage.
Epic: Once per battle as a free action you can pop free from an enemy instead of rolling a Disengage check or a Skilled Intercept save if you're wearing light armor.  Additionally, you may use your free move action granted from the Champion tier feat when it's not your turn.

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