Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fighters aboard the Apployon

Steward in Bronze 1/2 Plate

Fighters aboard the HMS Apollyon come in many varieties: gunfighters from the lawless regions of the crew deck, pit-fighting toughs and brawling sailors as well disciplined stewards specializing in the use of heavy armor.  Various types of warriors have different advantages fighting with their chosen equipment and in their chosen style.  Below are skills that fighters can specialize in using a tiered 6 point rule.  Each skill can have up to six points placed in it for increased effect.  A Fighter begins with three skill points and then adds an additional one every level up to name level once no more points may be added. I have tried to make most of the advantages conferred simple static adjustments that don't effect game mechanics. I have no idea if this allows min-maxing and don't care, because I don't think overpowered matters much against an army of demonic men-fish armed with heat seeking wasp cannons and foul sorcery. To limit obnoxious play I'd let the GM pick where points after the 1st three end up (unless a fighter specifically says they want to seek training in a new area - such as the use of powered armor).

Example: The Stewards tend to fight defensively using discipline and armor to make up for their low numbers.  The average Steward is a 3rd level fighter, giving her six points to spend on skills. 2 in Heavy Armor, 3 in Shield, 1 in Firearms.

This means that our steward will be able to wear heavy armor up to Full plate without attack/dexterity penalties and will have 10' of the heavy armor movement penalty cancelled   Additionally if armed with a shield she will be able to fight defensively gaining an AC bonus of 1 (plus 1 for every attack bonus point she normally has) in exchange for foregoing her attack, gain a 1d6 shield bash attack if she misses her regular attack (negates shield use AC for next round) and get an additional +1 AC bonus from shield use against missile fire. Our steward's gun skill allows her to avoid injury on fumbles or misfires.

Note on instant kills:  Many of these skills allow the fighter to cause instant death with a lucky blow.  This instant death roll is normally allowed a save vs. death to reduce it to a normal critical hit.

Weapon Skills  - Abilities focused on using specific types of weapons or specific fighting styles.  Obviously these skills only work while using the type of weapons they apply to.  i.e. The two handed weapon skill Bonecrusher will not increase critical damage while wielding a short sword.

Firearms - Familiarity and practice with firearms generally makes the gunman more accurate and efficient using any kind of powder and shot weapon.
LVL Firearms
1 Basic Training - A deeper understanding and familiarity with firearms allows the fighter to conduct preventative maintenance and avoid overcharging weapons.  Any misfire or fumble will simply be a jam rather than an explosion.  Friendly fire is still possible.
2 Marksmanship - The fighter is a trained shootist. +1 to hit.
3 Quickdraw - The fighter can fire multiple shots quickly and without a loss of accuracy.  The Fighter gains +1 to initiative, +1 shot per round with multi-shot weapons and +1 aimed shot with automatic weapons.
4 Sniper - The fighter's aiming skills are incredible, an additional +1 to hit.  When braced and having at least 2 rounds to prepare the fighter receives an additional bonus of +2 damage for the first shot.
5 Two Gun Mojo/Fast Reload -  The gun has become and extension of the Fighter's self.  Two pistols may be used simultaneously without any penalty and when reloading the fighter may do it in 1/2 the time.
6 Dead-Eye -  The uncanny, and perhaps supernatural ability of the fighter to place bullets into the vitals of her enemies.  A natural 20 will kill any opponent of up to equal HD to the fighter, and do x3 damage to all others.  Fighter receives an additional +1 damage (this is counted for exploding damage purposes).

Two Weapons - A specialization that depends on the use of two one handed weapons being wielded, one in each hand.  Both hands may wield any one-handed weapon as limited by the below skill chart.

LVL Dual Weapon Skills
1 Basic Skill - Fighter may use a large weapon in the dominant hand and a small or medium weapon in the other hand.  If the main weapon attack misses, fighter receives an additional attack at -1 to hit with the secondary weapon.
2 Defensive Weapon - Fighter can adopt a defensive stance with their off-hand weapon and will gain a 1 point bonus to AC when doing so.  The off-hand weapon cannot be used to attack if used defensively.
3 Feint - The fighter can use thier off hand weapon to feint or distract an enemy, receiving a +1 (+1 an additional +1 for every DEX over 15/max +3) with a strike from their main weapon.  May not use other striking or Defensive options with this skill.
4 Balanced Use - Fighter has become effectively ambidextrous and may use any one-handed weapon in either hand without penalty. Always receives an off-hand weapon attack.
5 Flowing Blows - Fighter's blows flow into each other in a  complicated pattern of constant attacks.  Fighter may use attacks to strike multiple targets and gains + 1 Attack per round.
6 Two Weapon Mastery - Fighter is a master of dual weapon combat, all strikes are at +1 to hit when using two weapons and critical hit chance is increase to a natural 18,19 or 20. If using a weapon defensively fighter gains an additional +1 AC (beyond Defensive Weapon Bonus)

Missile Weapons - Fighters often specialize in muscle powered missle weapons, from thrown axes, daggers and spears to bows and crossbows.  The abilities below may only be used with missile weapons, but become quite lethal as a Fighter's skill increases.
LVL Missile Weapons
1 Trained - The fighter has trained extensively with missile weapons and gains +1 to damage due to the accuracy of his attacks with them.  Additionally he knows how to use special shot (such as flaming arrows) if it is available.
2 Marksmanship - Additional training focused on hitting moving target allows the fighter to have +1 to hit with missile weapons.
3 Quick Shot - Fighter can fire or throw missile weapons more quickly than most without a loss of accuracy and gains +1 attack with missile weapons.
4 Crippling Shot - The fighter can shoot to injure and cripple.  At the fighter's request a shot can be used to damage and tangle an enemy's shield (-1 to AC) or to otherwise interfere with his fighting ability (-1 to enemy to hit).  These shots do 1/2 damage and can only be used once per enemy.
5 Deadly Shot - The uncanny, and perhaps supernatural ability of the fighter to place her shots into the vitals of her enemies.  A natural 20 will kill any opponent of up to equal HD to the fighter, and do x3 damage to all others.  Fighter receives an additional +1 damage.
6 Uncanny Aim - Any natural roll over 15 cause a critical hit (assuming it hits at all) as the fighter's missile seem to seek the vital organs of his targets with unerring accuracy.

Two Handed Weapons - Training in the use of two-handed weapons, including pole-arms.  The majority of these skills emphasize overcoming the slow speed and cumbersome nature of these weapons and using their weight and size to inflict maximum damage to a larger number of opponents.
LVL  Two- Handed Weapons
1 Set Weapon - The fighter understands the advantage that the reach of a 2-handed weapon gives and may set their weapon against a foe moving into range.  The fighter automatically strikes 1st at any attacking enemy if they have had a chance to set their weapon and does so for +1 damage.
2 Cleaving - A large weapon allows the fighter to slash through multiple weaker foes.  If the fighter's first blow kills an opponent the fighter may make an additional attack against another opponent of less HD than the fighter.  A cleave may strike as many enemies as the fighter has levels +1.
3 Bonecrusher - Using the weight of the 2-handed Weapon the fighter's blow become devastating.  Critical strikes now do x3 damage instead of x2.
4 Rapid Attack - The fighter has the gained strength and balance to use a 2-handed weapon without a penalty to initiative, and may roll normally rather than attacking last in the round.
5 Defensive Stance - Fighter may adopt a defensive stance with his weapon, using its reach to keep enemies at a distance.  Gains +1 AC, but may not attack while using this option.
6 Executioner - Fighter's skill allows him to maximize the damage done with a two-handed weapon.  Blows that hit with a natural 20 will kill any opponent of HD less than the fighter's HD plus the fighter's strength bonus.

Duelist - Specialists in fighting a single enemy with one-handed weapons, duelist skills are typically gained by gladiators and aficionados of the wealthier fighting academies alike.  Duelist skills only work when the Duelist is faced with a single opponent that may attack them that round.  defending, or even considering defending against multiple enemies robs a duelist of the concentration needed to use his skills effectively.
LVL Duelist
1 Duelist - Duelists reliance on accuracy and speed means they may elect to use their DEX bonus in place of their STR bonus for the purposes of melee to hit and damage.  Additionally a duelists are experts at sudden strikes to the vitals of an enemy and hit critically on a 19 or 20.
2 Anticipation - Skilled duelists develop the ability to predict an opponents next move, and so gain a +1 bonus to AC and a +1 bonus to Initiative.
3 Cold Blooded - The Duelist remains calm in battle and strikes with the intent of killing his enemies as quickly as possible +1 Damage.
4 Uncanny Speed -  The fighter's rigorous training has made her unnaturally fast and she now strikes with +1 hit and gains a +1 to Initiative.
5 Lethal Strikes - The fighter has become an advanced student of anatomy and terrifyingly accurate and now receives a critical strike on any roll above 16.  Additionally a hit roll of a natural 20 will kill any opponent with HD less than that of the duelist.
6 Kinetic Sense - The Duelist has developed abnormal situational and kinetic awareness and can use duelist skills even when fighting up to two plus his Dexterity bonus number of opponents.

Pugilist - These fighters are specialists in unarmed combat and their skills are only effective when they are not wielding any weapon (fist weapons might be allowable under some circumstances).  This discipline includes bare knuckle pit fighters and mystical warrior types.
LVL Pugilist
1 Fisticuffs - Fighter is able to strike opponents with her hands and feet for 1D4 damage + STR bonus per attack.
2 Grappling - The Fighter has become an expert in wrestling, dirty fighting and crippling his opponents.  If the fighter elects to grapple an enemy he will do only 1D2 damage on a successful strike, but will prevent the enemy from attacking that round as they struggle.  While grappling the pugilist is easier to hit and suffers a 1 point penalty to AC.
3 Toughness - Fighter has become used to the pain of combat +1 HP per Level.
4 Nimble - Fighter is Nimble and gains +1 to AC when wearing any armor that they have the skill "Efficient Use" in.
5 Stunning Blows - On a successful strike the opponent of the pugilist is stunned and will strike at -1 to hit plus an additional -1  to hit for every point of Strength bonus the fighter has.  Additionally a pugilist with this level of training will do 1D6 points of damage + STR bonus per attack.
6 Deadly Blows - The fighter knows the secrets of deadly pressure points and spine snapping holds and on a to hit roll of a natural 20 will kill any opponent with HD equal to or below his own.  Pugilists of this level of ability also gain +1 attack per round.

Armor Skills - Like Weapon Skills these skills only apply while the fighter is using a particular type of armor and will provide no benefit in a different class of armor or unarmored.

Heavy Armor - Training in the use of heavy armor including Splint-mail, Plate-mail, half-plate/field plate and full plate armor. These skills only apply while wearing heavy armor.
LVL Heavy Armor
1 Heavy Armor - Allows the proper use of Splint-mail and Plate-mail armors (will eliminate DEX AC bonus, have -1 to hit penalty without skill).
2 Plate Armor - Allows the proper use of 1/2 plate and plate armor, which cannot be used without this skill (will eliminate DEX AC bonus, have -1 to hit penalty and provide only AC 3 without skill).  Reduces the movement penalty for all heavy armor by 10'
3 Efficient Use - Allows the reduction of movement penalty by 20', regardless of armor's original penalty.  Also allows normal range of movement in heavy and plate armor without a penalty.  The heavy armor user will even be able to stay afloat to a number of rounds equal to her Constitution, though swimming is still impossible.
4 Endurance - Constantly wearing heavy armor has given the fighter increased endurance and they gain +1 HP per level.
5 Armored Attack - Fighter may use the bulk and weight of her heavy armor to increase damage done, provides +1 Damage bonus.
6 Juggernaut - The Fighter's faith in his protection allows him to ignore most mind effecting spells while in battle and he gains an additional save vs.sleep, charm, hold and similar spells while in combat.  Fighter Also receives + 1 to all Saving throws.

Light Armor - Training in the use of light armor mostly focuses on making up for its defects.  Light armor includes: padded, leather, scale, chain and banded armors as well as back and breast plate.  Again these skills only apply when wearing light armor.

LVL Light Armor
1 Efficient Use - Allows the use of light armor without movement penalty and allows the fighter to move and act almost as easily as would unarmored.  With this skill a fighter may even swim in light armor, though diving and actual combat in armor in any armor heavier than leather is still penalized.
2 Nimble - Fighter is Nimble and gains +1 to AC when wearing any armor that they have the skill "Efficient Use" in.
3 Quickness - With the added protection of his armor the fighter is still quick enough to better able to avoid magical and other unexpected attacks, gaining a +1 to all saving throws.
4 Deflection - The fighter has learned the art of taking blows on the reinforced portions of his armor and gains a 1 point bonus to AC.
5 Rapid Attack - A trained fighter in light armor may attack more quickly than a fighter in heavy armor could ever believe possible, +1 Attack every two rounds.
6 Endurance - Long use of even light armor will harden a person, and the fighter gains +1 HP per HD.

Power Armor - Strange new skills are required to wearing a hydraulic and steam driven suit of boiler and plate, and even more for the strange arcane and technomantic suits created by alien races and the ship's original builders. 
LVL Power Armor
1 Boiler Theory - The fighter knows how to use and care for powered armor and is no longer subject to the 1 in 10 chance each round that the armor will malfunction.  After battle malfunctions still occur, but the fighter rolls at +1 on the table and may effect repairs in 1/2 the listed time.
2 Power Assist - With training and use the fighter has become adept at allowing the armor's augmented strength magnify his own and does now does +1 point of additional damage per attack.
3 Juggernaut - The Fighter's faith in his protection allows him to ignore most mind effecting spells while in battle and he gains an additional save vs.sleep, charm, hold and similar spells while in combat.  Fighter Also receives + 1 to all Saving throws.
4 Endurance - the terrible heat and strain of boiler and plate wear has given the fighter increased endurance and they gain +1 HP per level.
5 Armored Attack - Fighter may use the bulk and weight of her massive armor to increase damage done, provides +1 Damage bonus.
6 Efficient Use - Allows the reduction of movement penalty by 20', regardless of armor's original penalty.  Due to skill with powered armor the fighter also gains a 1 point bonus to armor class when wearing powered armor.

Shield - Specialization in using a shield for both defensive and offensive purposes. None of these skills will work without a shield in hand.
LVL Shield
1 Defensive Fighting - Fighter may use their shield and weapon effectively to block additional incoming attacks.  Gains a one point AC bonus (+1 point for each point of to hit bonus) when not attacking. 
2 Shield Smash - Fighter may use shield offensively once every two rounds to bash opponent with an additional attack for 1D6 points of damage.  Fighter gains no defensive bonus from the shield when they elect to use it offensively.
3 Cover - While using a shield the fighter gains a +1 Bonus to defense against Missile Fire and a +2 bonus against missile fire from medium or greater range.
4 Shield Wall - Long practice with the shield grants the fighter a +1 bonus to AC while using one.
5 Shield Fighter - Fighter has mastered the art of using his shield as both an offensive and defensive weapon. Every other round (in addition to Shield Smash above) fighter may strike an opponent with his shield without any defensive penalty for, as a normal attack for 1D6 damage.
6 Indomitable - Fighter is used to using his shield skills in impossible situations and has an almost preternatural awareness of enemies' attacks. When attacked by multiple enemies fighter can use their own movement against them, so that his opponents tangle with eachother and block eachother's attacks.  Fighter gains a 1 point AC bonus for each enemy attacking him in melee beyond the first 2.  I.E. +1 AC against the 3rd attacker, +2 vs. the 4th etc. 

Other Skills - Skills available to fighters based on general traits and training.

Tactics/Leadership - Fighters of the officer and leader class tend to learn these skills, generally allowing them to better lead others and use psychological tricks to effect their allies and enemies.

LVL Tactics and Leadership
1 Inspiring - Fighter is a natural leader and all hirelings or others he leads gain a 1 point bonus to moral and an additional bonus point of moral for every point of Charisma fighter has over 15.
2 Awareness - Long observation of battle and knowledge of technique have given the fighter a good chance of anticipating his enemies next moves, +1 Initiative.
3 Exhortation - A rousing pre-battle speech (A turn at least) from this warrior will give all followers/companions a +1 Damage and Initiatice for the next 1D20 rounds as they are filled with a desire for glorious victory.
4 Evaluate - If the fighter has a chance to observe a humanoid or beast for 1 round he may make a simple check against wisdom to get a rough idea of the martial skill of the target.
5 Demoralize - If allowed to give a short speech to enemies who can understand him the fighter can intimidate up to his own HD + his CHR bonus of enemies, who will attack at -1 to damage and Initiative for the next 1D20 rounds.
6 Battle-Cry/Taunt/Challenge - The fighter may let out a blood cuddling howl or cutting insult that will compel an enemy who understands it to attack him rather than another target.

Fortitude - These abilities are for fighters that are somehow incredibly difficult to kill and have amazing abilities to recover.
LVL Fortitude
1 Toughness - Fighter is a tough brute, and gains + 1 HP per Level
2 Last Stand - Even suffering from mortal wounds the may keep battling until completely dead.  Fighter does not fall unconscious at zero HP but may continue fighting until slain, fighter receives -1 to hit for every HP under 0 however.
3 Juggernaut - The Fighter can shake off most mind effecting spells while in battle and gains an additional save vs.sleep, charm, hold and similar spells while in combat.  Fighter Also receives + 1 to all saving throws
4 Pain Resistant - Fighter's nerves have become deadened to pain, and can ignore injury that would cripple most.  Fighter's CON bonus is doubled for the purpose of hit point generation.
5 Berserker - Relishing combat, and perhaps even the pain of injury, fighter may enter a berserk rage in combat gaining +1 to Hit, +2 Damage and +1 Attack.  Fighters AC will be penalized by 3 when in this state and the fighter will not retreat from combat until all enemies are dead.
6 Accelerated Recovery -  The fighter is so tough that he recovers 1 HP every 3 rounds as long as his total HP remains above zero.

Agility - These skills are for fighters who specialize in fast and agile melee using quickness and accuracy rather than brawn.
LVL Agility
1 Fast - Fighter is quick, gaining +1 to Initiative.
2 Acrobatic - Fighter is capable of acrobatic leaps and similar feats, while there is some general utility to this skill, the most practical combat use is the ability to quickly leap back from combat
3 Nimble - Fighter is Nimble and gains +1 to AC when wearing any armor that they have the skill "Efficient Use" in.
4 Quickness - Fighter can use his speed and agility to dodge or avoid most attacks including magical attacks and gains +1 to all saving throws.  Fighter may also opt to use DEX bonus instead of STR for melee to hit and damage bonuses.
5 Disarm - Using her agility the fighter can opt disarm an enemy on a critical hit.  This attack will only work on opponents with a weapon, and will reduce them to unarmed attack until they can recover their weapon.
6 Flowing Strikes - At this level of skill each of the fighter's strikes is a set up for the next and she can attack far quicker than all but the most skilled, + 1 Attack.
HMS Apollyon fighters
Note:  This is a post I'd really like feedback on - if anyone has better names, more interesting abilities or commentary on this please feel free to add it.  I intend to do something similar for the other core classes of Magic-User(more specialization utility and knowledge stuff),  Adventurer (thief/animal handler/assassin/gentleman adventurer) and Divine (Cleric/Priest/Inquisitor/Prophet) so thoughts now are important as to later.  Demi-human classes (Demi-Humans get one or two classes - i.e froglings can be witch-doctors or Specialists) 


  1. This is good stuff. Lots of ideas here, and I particularly like how the player is not overwhelmed with too many options (the main choice being which style to pursue, and whether to specialize or take several lower level benefits from multiple styles).

    1. That's what I was hoping for - thanks for the vote of confidence in the rules presented, I tried to keep everything mechanically simple. I am sort of itching to use these rules now - but that's a good thing.

  2. Like it a lot, will have to get back to you with more useful feedback than that.

    1. Any feedback is useful. The magic user one is also up and the thief/specialist one should go up this week.

  3. I'm not great at crunching numbers and second guessing them, but this looks hella fun and interesting without being bean-counter or choice overload.

    Was thinking up some alternate names , but the ones you have are pretty good at explaining what they are, but if wanna have more colourful names that make you keep forgetting what they actually do here is some:
    Toughness (in pugilist)=> Knucklehead (or Carnucklehead)
    Flowing blows =>Ruinous Torrent
    Fast =>The audacious prevail
    Nimble =>Duck and weave
    Quickness =>Absence is my Shield
    Rapid Attack => Rending Advance
    Fisticuffs=>4 Clubs
    DeadlyBlows(pugilist)=>back-alley surgeon
    Stunning Blow=>Brainshaker

    rapid attack(2 handed weapons)==> Tactical deployment (skilled use of 2 handed weapons is timing , space management and working with the weight of the weapon)

    Shield Fighter==> Inexorable

    Deadly Shot=> Reaper calling
    Uncanny Aim=> Bluesky Lightning
    Duellist=>Grace, Poise
    Cold Blooded =>Formal education , Grim Composure
    Uncanny Speed => The Hawk Decends
    Lethal Strikes => Finishing Touch (touch is also a term in fencing so its a double pun)
    Kinetic Sense ==> Branle or Beanchaes brawl (

    1. Scrap, you names are very atmospheric, but many have the downside of not really describing what the skill does. For example, "uncanny aim" is obvious, but "bluesky lightning" not quite so much. I think this is partly why the workaday names like magic missile and read magic have stuck around.

    2. Oh I like some of them - some are a bit Wu Shu for my taste - but when I edit this into a PDF I will totally steal Inexorable, Poise & Formal Education.

      I wanted the names to be general both for identification purposes as Brendan says and because I want the players to have ownership of the why of the skill. Is your gunfighter uncanny with his aim because he's got eagle eyes and practice, or is a guardian wind elemental guiding them bullets into vital bits?

      Now all I have to do is the Cleric skills...ugh bored by Clerics. Of course witch hunters, cult members and healer priests are fairly cool.

    3. Brendan , I know , I mentioned a disclaimer that I was about to list a bunch of colourful names that wouldn't be that obvious what they do.
      I guess a thing is names for stuff in world work well if they are colourful and idiosyncratic but in a game book? Can be confusing, but might still work depending on how much you want the whole book to be drenched in tone.
      Bluesky lightning is like when someone gets struck down suddenly out of no-where as if by a blue sky lightning bolt. You prob got that, I just think its a cool image/description of elite sniper at work.

      YEah but you are totally right about workaday names, although it's surprising how much estoreic lingo can be become an everyday term and vis versea.
      Cliche and Stereotype for example are the french and english names of the same part of the printing press.

      Gusty L
      I had fun thinking them up and would of been very surprised if you had used them all. I still thin

  4. ah damn not being able to edit comments. I was gonna say I still think I am a clever cheese for "finishing touch"

    Also do you find that you players respond more creatively to generic names or evocative (but narrower) names?

    1. I'm not sure on evocative names - I like them, but I want my skill lists to be general enough for most settings. I do think that really specific ones limit archetypes. For example - I like the changes that you would make in 'Pugilist' but I also think they evoke a very 'brawler' archetype and I want Pugilist (despite its name) to work for all unarmed fighters (tough guys, beastfighters and martial arts monk). Hence I go with less specific names.

      Finishing Touch is good - one I most surely will revise with. I actually fenced for 10 years until my limbs and interest in dating derailed me.

  5. Dude, you need to make a tattoo table for Appolyon fighters...