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  • Swashbuckler Playtest

    I had posted my swashbuckler class here before, but recently broke-down some of the playtest findings and wanted to get some feedback. I write-up of the class during the first four levels is below and you can get the fuller version here. In particular, there was a combat encounter where the player playing the swashbuckler was frustrated by high Armor Rating. Even after hitting an enemy in heavy plate, he would have to roll a 4 or better on the damage dice to do any damage. I eventually let him grab a falchion, but it was not a pleasant experience.

    So the main problem I am having is with Weapon Finesse. I am tempted to just replace it with Pinpoint Attack, but a lot of lower tier enemies have high Dexterity and want the bonus to be more reliable. Any thoughts?

    SWASHBUCKLER

    Primary Abilities: Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, and Dexterity
    Secondary Abilities: Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, and Willpower

    Starting Health: 30 + Constitution + 1d6

    Weapon Groups: Brawling, Light Blades, Staves, and either Curved Blades or Dueling weapons.

    Curved Blades Group (Accuracy)
    Weapon Damage Min. Str. Cost
    Cutlass 1d6+2 15 sp
    Scimitar 2d6 0 18 sp
    Falchion* 2d6+2 2 21 sp
    *Falchions are two-handed weapons.

    LEVEL 1

    Class Cross-Training: You are also treated as a Rogue and Warrior for taking talents.

    Canny Defense: You use trickery and miscommunication to outwit your enemies. While unarmored and not using a shield, you add your Communication to Defense if it is greater than your opponent's.

    Challenge: You throw the gauntlet against a foe during combat. You select one enemy you can see as a free action and deal an extra 1d6 damage on your first melee attack against that opponent. However, against all other opponents you suffer a -1 penalty to Defense until the start of your next turn and can't use this feature if denied your major action, such as if you are stunned.

    Weapon Finesse: While wielding a melee weapon based on Accuracy, you add your Dexterity instead of Strength to the damage roll.

    Starting Talents: You become a Novice in one of the following talents: Dual Weapon Style, Quick Reflexes, or Single Weapon Style.

    LEVEL 2
    New Ability Focus: You now gain one of the following ability focuses: Communication (Etiquette), Dexterity (Riding), or Strength (Jumping).

    LEVEL 3
    New Talent: You become a Novice in a new talent or gain a degree in a talent you already have.

    LEVEL 4
    New Specialization: You may choose one specialization for your class. You gain the Novice degree of its specialization talent.

    DERVISH (Swashbuckler Specialization)

    Requirements: You must have Dexterity 2 or higher and the Dexterity (Acrobatics) focus.

    Novice: Nothing gets in your way. If you fail a Dexterity (Acrobatics) test, you can re-roll it, but must keep the results of the second roll.

    Journeyman: You can kip-up back onto your feet. You can move your full speed after standing, instead of normally moving half your speed.

    Master: You can quickly dash in and out of danger. You can move up to your total speed when you use the Charge action, rather than only half as is normal, or you can make the attack at any point during your movement.
    Last edited by Otog; 5th December 2015, 09:27 PM.
    Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

    Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

    Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

  • #2
    Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

    I'm not sure if it's 'different' enough to justify it's own class, but if you read more from me on this forum, you'll find out my point of view on this. Regardless, let's have a look.


    The class itself
    Disclaimer: this is all just comparisons and theorycrafting.

    One thing to note beforehand - it seems that other than throwing knives (With the exception of the Musketeer specialization) they have no access to ranged weapons correct?
    Perhaps give them the black powder group (if it fits the setting) at level one? I feel like pistols fit the swashbuckler style best.

    I'm not sure how well the Weapon and Shield style fits with swashbuckler, I know spiked bucklers are used, but the dueling weapon group would be enough for that. I just can't imagine them with a medium or heavy shield - And with the emphasis on dexterity (in other words added defense) due to weapon finesse, I'm not sure this is needed.


    A quick and dirty damage comparison
    Since it's a Rogue/Warrior crossclass I'll leave mages out of this. I'm going to purely look at this from a combat perspective for balance sake.
    • Warriors have access to heavy hitting weapons with the use of fighting.
    • Rogues have access to finesse weapons with the use of accuracy, these deal less damage, to make up for it, they have pinpoint attack.
    • Swashbuckler needs to use accuracy weapons for his weapon finesse to work, they don't get pinpoint attack, but can focus on dexterity instead of strength for added damage, so they can more or less dump the strength stat for combat.


    In a way I get it, I mean you give them a 2d6 (or 2d6+3 if two-hander) damage weapon to make up for not having pinpoint attack. But by making dexterity also their damage stat it means that every point in it gives them added damage AND defense. Which means a swashbuckler will be dumping every primary point into dexterity. This might not be a good thing since it will become too good of an ability not to put points in it, which in turn could mean you are 'forced' to give up other primary abilities.
    I guess you could spend some points elsewhere if you have Weapon and Shield style and a proper medium/large shield to make up for your lack of defense but that would sort of move away from the whole agile swashbuckler style if you ask me.

    I'm not sure how this will pan out in the long run, but it feels like the class would be too heavy on dexterity to function since it needs it both for it's damage aswel as it's defense. It sort of feels like a armorless warrior who is high on dexterity to make up for it.

    It's a fine line - At one point you have enough dex it has made up for not wearing armor, but at the same time you keep dumping points in it to increase your damage - whereas rogues have 3 abilities to increase damage - str (raw), Int (lethality) and Dex (to trigger pinpoint attack).

    And if you would change weapon finesse to pinpoint attack.. well to be honest then you might aswel just make it a rogue. So if you do want to change it, it would have to be something else.


    The level skills
    Feint I like it, keep it, perhaps adjust the damage if needed.

    Cunning Reposte seems a bit over the top but the test might be enough to keep it from being too strong... although if it does happen... it is extremely strong since you're basically ignoring your opponents attack and getting a freeby in yourself on their turn.
    Perhaps add that the 'counterattack' can not generate stuntpoints and deals half damage? Or go another route and make it so you have to 'ready' a cunning reposte.
    Also a bit of clarification - What happens if the test fails? Does that prevent you from using it again on that target, or does a failure allow you to try again?


    Specializations
    Blade Bravado
    Novice seems fine.
    Journeyman seems strong for some reason - since it's communication based, maybe use the original swashbuckler specs' taunt SP cost reduction?
    Master I'm not sure how strong this is, it seems like once you reach that point where your dex made up for the lack of armor, you just pump this up to 5 since it's cheaper.

    Dervish
    I really like Dervish, it really hits that 'agile, panache fighter idea. in and out with quick hits'. Very nice!

    Musketeer
    I like the idea of using both a melee and ranged weapon. Compared to the other specializations this seems very underwhelming until you get master, then all of a sudden you get a free (slightly weaker) ranged attack on top of your regular attack. Perhaps you can spread the powerlevel out a bit more evenly.
    If the class gets access to Black Powder at level 1, then you could remove that from novice and add something else, perhaps something to do with 'Aim' or the reloading of black powder weapons.



    That's my 2 cents, do with it what you will.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

      Thanks Gerben and you make a lot of good points. In terms of offense, I would like an excuse to give swashbucklers +1d6 damage with melee Accuracy based weapons. This would be a consistent bonus and not based on the opponent's Dex. Ideally, I would also keep the Dex instead of Str to damage, but am hesitant because having both may be a little too much.

      I am not too worried about Dex being a power stat. Right now the character's spread is: Acc 4, Com 2, Con 2, Dex 5, Fig 0, Int 0, Per1, Str 1, Wil 0

      Dex is pretty heavily invested in, but does not preclude all other abilities. It is focused and kind of a glass cannon, which is the intention of the design. I think the problem is, and what you had also pointed out, is that there is only one way to increase the damage on attacks. If it were divided among two abilities, like Dex and Str, I think that could work but it would mean adding one big number to the result on the dice and most Accuracy weapons only have one. Rolling more dice is more fun and lets you add an ability as well to the result.

      In terms of defense, I think you are right that shields do not fit with the build. What I really want is a way of incentivizing going without armor and one of the ways I have thought about doing that is with Com. The way I thought about doing this is if your Com is higher than the attacker you can add your Com to Defense or maybe Armor Rating while unarmored. Defense makes more sense, as you are basically juking the enemy. I would prefer the benefit went to AR though for meta game reasons, as it will raise Defense so high that when you are hit it is all Mighty and Lethal Blows coming your way.
      Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

      Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

      Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

        Removing the shields from the class would be a start - or at least you won't get all those defensive bonusses from the talent anymore and you won't be able to wield the medium/heavy shields which would be odd for such a dexterous class.

        Saying defense since you're more or less juking anything that comes at you actually makes quite a lot of sense - and with the removal of shields it won't be as bad as before. Now I get that you would rather add some to AR in a way, but in a sense, the high defense might just fit the class - this way they would maybe have to invest some more in constitution aswel for Hitpoints.

        If you go for this, then keeping Weapon finesse as is, where people can focus on dex to get damage and defense, isn't a bad fit at all. The removal of the weapon & shields can maybe be filled up with some added bonus in another area



        Now let's step off that all together and see if there is another option, what you want is the following:
        • An excuse to add 1d6 damage when using melee accuracy weapons as a consistent bonus, with the preference of throwing extra dice rather than adding raw damage.
        • A glass cannon feel
        • (For defense, one way or another justify adding AR.)


        Having both offense and defense on a single ability seems a bit much so let's say you don't add damage via Dexterity, let's leave that at Strength, I think that would be more easy to balance. Dexterity will still be very important, it is included in both offense and defense below.

        For offensive, this might sound crazy and might not work at all but maybe there's something you can use..
        Instead of weapon finesse, what about this:

        Quick hits
        Swashbucklers are very agile and quick, they hit their targets in quick succession whenever they see an opening all the while trying not to get hit themselves. Whenever you land a succesfull attack, you quickly strike multiple times in succession to your attack, it happens so fast it seems like one single attack.
        When you land a succesfull attack, you may add Nd3 additional damage, where N is your dexterity divided by 3 rounded down, upto a maximum of 3d3.
        This would give a character 1d3 additional damage at 3 dex, 2d3 additional damage at 6 dex and 3d3 additional damage at 9 dex.


        For defense, how about this. The Swashbuckler as an agile class, their dexterity is very high, they have quick reflexes etc. So something with moving, dodging, evading would be nice - Instead of unfettered defense how about just 'Evasion'.

        Evasion
        Unarmored you are very quick and nimble, your movements make it hard for your opponents to hit vital targets. When someone makes a succesfull attack roll against you, if you are free to move (i.e. not stunned, knocked prone etc..), you may roll a Dexterity(acrobatics) vs their Dexterity (Initiative) test, if you succeed the damage is reduced by half your dexterity rounded down.
        Maybe not the best test, reasoning I had was Acrobatics (your movement) vs their Initative (to see if they can react quickly enough to your 'dodging') - I wanted dex vs dex to make it a speed battle. "Half your dexterity rounded down" is something to tweak where needed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

          Thanks again, Gerben. After having bounced some ideas around, maybe we can do Dex and +1d6 to damage. Here's how I think the abilities would look like now.

          Canny Defense: You use trickery and miscommunication to outwit your enemies. While unarmored and not using a shield, you add your Communication to Defense if it is greater than your opponent's.

          It hints at the rogue's pinpoint ability, but is used more defensively.

          Daring Attack: You can leave yourself vulnerable to deliver a devastating lunge. When you use the All-Out Attack action, you add 1d6 to your damage roll instead of +1 as is normal. This also effects any consecutive attacks, such as from dual wielding or lightning attack.

          This gives my player an out for when he can hit consistently but just can not breakthrough high Armor Rating. It also sets up the swashbuckler as someone who is a "high risk, high reward" type that is very quintessentially swashbuckler-y.

          Weapon Finesse: Your blows land with more precision than force. While wielding a melee weapon based on Accuracy, you add your Dexterity instead of Strength to the damage roll.

          I know how you feel about having one ability for both offense and defense, but I really do not see this as a problem. Dragon AGE has Dexterity for Defense and attack rolls, and it balances just fine.
          Last edited by Otog; 3rd December 2015, 10:20 AM.
          Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

          Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

          Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

            I dont know how you'll see it, but I think the +1d6 damage bonus should not be as systematic as it is for the Rogue. Here's some ideas I had. When I think of a Swashbuckler, I see a cocky fighter, using a Parry and Riposte style of fighting:

            1) Precise Counter-Attack: You gain a 1d6 damage bonus against enemies that missed you with an attack on their last turn.

            2) Cocky Bravado: The Taunt stunt cost 1 SP instead of the usual 2 SP. You gain a 1d6 damage bonus against enemies you Taunted until the end of your next turn. (Could use the same idea, but with the Press the Attack action: 1d6 against enemy you pursue with your hits)

            3) Spring Heeled Attack: You gain a 1d6 damage bonus against enemy lower in the Initiative list.

            4) Parry and Riposte: When you use the Guard Up action, you gain 1d6 damage bonus for your next attack.

            For defense, still with the Glass Canon feel

            1) At some level, can add their weapon focus to defense (or AR)

            2) Armor penalty also affect your attack rolls

            That just some ideas I got while eating.
            Last edited by vincegetorix; 3rd December 2015, 11:20 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

              I like your Cocky Bravado idea, and with Gerben's earlier suggestion about the Blade Bravado, I think that it make that specialization more balanced.

              I also like your idea about adding the ability focus to Def and AR, perhaps that could replace the level 10 ability.

              For Parry and Riposte, I like the flavor of it but does it eat too much into the action economy? I definitely appreciate that you risk a lot less but it does mean you are caught standing still. The reason why I went with All-Out Attack is because it already provides a damage bonus, you are just replacing the amount of the bonus damage that it applies.
              Last edited by Otog; 3rd December 2015, 11:43 AM.
              Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

              Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

              Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                Yeah, I get what you mean, my personal favorite (after reading the complete post on your forum) is the Precise Counter-Attack 'cause it makes the very high Defense of your Swashbuckler something more potentialy Offensive than a simple Defensive static number. Fighting against slow and heavily armored enemies is no longer a chore for a swachbuckler, it makes them stronger. I remember from when I was doing fencing that it was easier to place a good hit after your adversary took the iniative to attack first and missed, you then use the momentum against him. Being hard to hit becomes part of your offensive strategy once you know how to use those openings.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                  I can see where you are coming from and it is an interesting combat, but I am worried about how this would work with ranged attacks, spells, and the like. The swashbuckler's capabilities are already limited to him or her in melee, let alone making them only effective when attacks against him or her are in melee. It may be something that gets explored in a specialization, but not for the core swashbuckler.

                  I do like the Guard Up follow-up idea you had, and between that and the All-Out Attack option, I think I will need to try these out at the table.
                  Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

                  Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

                  Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                    Now I'm kinda bummed that I did not have the option to run a Swashbuckler when we started our game (much like Vegasmobile, who's playing with me in the group, would have love your Bard...). For now I use the Mystic class from Mystara: no armor but very high defense and damage mostly due d6 accumulation, much like your Swashbucker. The feeling is good for now, but I'm kinda affraid that I'll become unhittable and outdamage the rest of the group. Do you think that may be the case with the Swashy? I mean, lets take the exemple of Daring Attack with a Dual-Scimitar, 4 Dex, Master dual-weapon: (regular attack 3d6+4) + (minor attack 3d6+2) + (Lightning attack 3d6+4) = 9d6+10 for a -1 defense penalty, that's a lot for a lvl 5. I get its supposed to be a Glass Canon, but that's a lot. I mean with that output, I wonder why would someone play a Rogue? Lose Rogue's Armor and 1/round +1d6 to gain Daring attack, Dex power stat, access to warrior skills etc seems like a very good deal.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                      That is all very true and thanks for pointing it out vincegetorix. I can definitely see the wisdom of limiting the +1d6 to once per round. Keep in mind, what the swashbuckler also loses to the rogue is any kind of long game as Gerben pointed out. That was intentional, and should also stipulate that Daring Strike or whatever it becomes can only work with melee attacks.

                      Other than the last session, it has been really fun. The campaign is sort of in-between Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one) and The Mummy. Lots of action and fun, and the AGE system really lends itself well to explosive, exciting moments.
                      Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

                      Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

                      Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                        i like the idea of class archetypes for FAGE, like the ones i made: Fighter/Barbarian for Warrior, Thief/Ranger for Rogue, and Healer/Sorcerer for Mage. The idea of a cross-class archetype never really occurred to me until i saw the Bard Idea you had. This got me thinking of 3 new classes for a cross-class archetype type-thing.

                        I could use Bard as is but Swashbuckler needs a bit of work in some regards.

                        1: i really like the idea of a Rogue/Warrior cross that can access both Warrior and Rogue Talents and Specs. like i said with Bard, you have to pick one set of Specs however. So if you want Warrior Specs then you can take those but you lose the option for Rogue Specs next time. this way you don't get too powerful (or maybe you can cross the Specs if the GM will allow. I personally would but some don't agree with me on that)

                        2: with the Cross-Class idea, you get to pick what bonuses you get at each level from their respective Classes. So you can start at level 1 as a Rogue but get the Warrior Level 2 bonus, the Rogue at 3rd and so one down the line. maybe with new options for the uniqueness of the class.

                        This is a concept i can work on and hopefully get some new ideas out there. keep up the good work, you have inspired me to work on something new and exciting.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                          Originally posted by VladGenX View Post
                          1: i really like the idea of a Rogue/Warrior cross that can access both Warrior and Rogue Talents and Specs. like i said with Bard, you have to pick one set of Specs however. So if you want Warrior Specs then you can take those but you lose the option for Rogue Specs next time. this way you don't get too powerful (or maybe you can cross the Specs if the GM will allow. I personally would but some don't agree with me on that)
                          It would probably be more balanced to stick with specs for 1 specific class, you could simply add a rule - 'if you are a cross-class and you choose a specialization for class X, you can no longer choose a specialization for another class'. But as you say if you as a GM allow it, then you can try and discover what it's like.


                          Originally posted by VladGenX View Post
                          2: with the Cross-Class idea, you get to pick what bonuses you get at each level from their respective Classes. So you can start at level 1 as a Rogue but get the Warrior Level 2 bonus, the Rogue at 3rd and so one down the line. maybe with new options for the uniqueness of the class.
                          I'm not sure about this. If you would go this route "every even level you get bonus from X, every odd level you get bonus from Y", It might become really incosistent.
                          It would (probably) always be better to pick rogue at level 1 to gain pinpoint attack, which would mean down the line at level 4 you would get the warrior bonus > new weapon group. Pick up a fighting weapon with pinpoint attack... that's going to create some very high damage numbers.

                          And it would also be fairly easy to 'stat up' considering you would be able to get +fighting (or strength) on every odd level and +dexterity on every even level to trigger pinpoint attack. Unless the primary/secondary abilities would be different.

                          So if you'd want this to work, you would most likely be replacing all the unique parts of it. i.e. pinpoint attack, lethality, expert strike etc.. Which would probably make it easier to just 'remake' level bonusses into a new class.

                          Cross-classing is difficult, I would say either keep it simple and minor and 'cross-class' by making specializations (perhaps ones that can be picked up at level 1) that multiple classes can get OR go beyond the existing classes and make an entirely new archetype class like Otog has done with his Bard and Swashbuckler.
                          I think this half/half getting bonus from each class is going to bite you in the long run either by being too inconsistent, too powerful or require you to make all kinds of niche rules about what is and what isn't allowed, which sort of takes away the point of cross-classing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                            Funny you should mention the Bard, VladGenX, because I am also re-working that into a full class with its own specializations.
                            Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

                            Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

                            Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Swashbuckler Playtest

                              As I have been kicking around the idea of adding +1d6, it should be applied to more than just All-Out Attack. Especially since Charge has much the same flavor but with different benefits. Here is the new mechanic being considered:

                              Challenge: You throw the gauntlet against a foe during combat. You select one enemy you can see as a free action and deal an extra 1d6 damage on your first melee attack against that opponent. However, against all other opponents you suffer a -1 penalty to Defense until the start of your next turn and can't use this feature if denied your major action, such as if you are stunned.
                              Last edited by Otog; 5th December 2015, 08:41 PM.
                              Star Wars: AGE of the Empire: An ever-expanding adaption of the Star Wars universe utilizing the AGE ruleset and compatible with the Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook.

                              Expanded Classes Playtest: Adding the Bard, Swashbuckler, and Templar classes. As well as introducing archetypes that gives players different options from the start of play.

                              Dustin & Dragons.com: A very uncreative name for my blog on my RPG-related creative projects.

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