Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hack & Slash's S&S Manifesto (Part I)



-C, at Hack & Slash, posted an instigating post about how the traditional Sword & Sorcery hero archetypes are twisted by D&D and traditional Fantasy RPGs in general. Usually, in fiction, warriors and rogues are charismatic/awesome characters, while wizards and sorcerers are despicable, heretics and inhuman beings. On most D&D settings however wizards are the pinnacle of wisdom and enlightenment, while warriors and rogues are just clichés with the serial numbers filled.

-C then proposes a series of basic ideas and house rules to make fighters awesome and wizards loathsome. Check it out.

So Tzimiscedracul, how would you (try to) address these premises in Pathfinder?

Well, I’m glad you asked it.

I’ll address them in two steps. First: Warriors! (The easiest part for me)

There are literally dozens of “remakes” or house-ruled Fighters out there, pick the one that you think better address the class’s problems at your table. If I really wanted to boost the awesomeness of my warriors I would merge my “Barbarian-less” Fighter with my “Complex” Fighter.

If you like Iron Heroes another option would be to use the Token system and Feats from that game as Fighter-only Combat Feats in Pathfinder. I already used this house rule once for D&D 3.5 and the players loved it.

D&D Next’s Expertise Dice are also another great resource-based mechanic that could be used in Pathfinder. Forget all those maneuvers – too restricting (and boring). I’d use Expertise Dice as a pool of floating dice to be used on a roundly basis. Maybe you could start with 1d6 to be freely added to one attack roll, AC, one save or one damage roll (though I believe that if used on damage these dice should have some progression).

Ok, if all that seem too complex, here’s a simple “solution”: grant Fighters Hero Points, and only Fighters. Fate is at their side (so is awesomeness). I think that Hero Points are one of Pathfinder’s greatest rules, particularly for customizing your game (that’s an idea for another post). Hero Points are also a very easy way to balance them against spellcasters. In fact, if you like of the idea, grant Hero Points as an exclusive mechanics to all non-spellcaster classes (I recommend 1 Hero Point per level, with extra Hero Points granted for defeating enemies or accomplishing quests).

The next (and hardest) step: Wizards!