Sunday, March 14, 2021

How Could I, of All People, Fall Silent? (GLOG Class: Fighter)

    The Master said, "To lie on a bed of arms and meet death without regret or hesitation, this is the strength of the man from the North. The forceful are at home in it. How correct his strength is! He stands on the fulcrum without leaning to either side. How correct his strength is! When the Way is manifest in the land, he is unwavering in his support of it. How correct his strength is! When the Way is not manifest in the land, he will not sell himself out, even until death. How correct his strength is!"
    - The Third Edition of the Sayings of Aeshe

     A quick post inspired by a discussion about archetypal Fighters in the OSR Discord. This is a Tarzan-y, Conan-y guy, and a vastly simplified alternate form of the Sword-Shepherd.

Source: Beowulf by Yoan-Lossel

    This world is violent. Many will take up weapons in defense of their lives, or the lives of the ones they love. Some never return home. In them, martial training has awakened the gift of Alden, oldest brother and Lord-G_d of Hosts, who forged the first swords so men could better kill one another. For them — the Friends of the Wound-Hoe; the Mockeries of the Tree's Sons; the Shepherds of Swords — there will be no peace, until peace catches them unawares.

Class: Fighter

    You are a Fighter, with all that that entails. Fighters cannot fumble with slings, bows, polearms or anything even a little bit like a sword. They may use shields and wear all types of armor. They gain +1 to-hit on odd-numbered levels and +1 defense on even-numbered levels, up to the 10th level if they survive that long.

Skills: 1. Hunting, 2. Medicine, 3. Mounted Combat
Starting Equipment: ringsword (medium weapon), wooden shield with painted design of your choice, wineskin (three doses), heavy traveling clothes (as leather).

  • A Killing Intent, Tigerlike Stride
  • B Suddenness of Death
  • C Invincible
  • D Insatiable Slayer

Killing Intent
    Your soul is inured to the horror of death. At-will, project a menacing aura that convinces most NPCs not to cross you. Only particularly brave people will meet your eyes, and every tavern has a dark corner table for you to sit and brood. This, at minimum, applies a [level] malus to morale checks among your enemies. Unintelligent monsters probably don't even get to check morale, they just leave you alone if you let them be (unless we're talking, like, a 10HD giant evil frog sicced on you by a Wizard or something).
Tigerlike Stride
    Unlike your pampered and morally-corrupt foes, your natural ferocity has not been dulled by civilization. Where a human could move silently without leaving a trace you move silently without leaving a trace; gaps a human could leap with a movement check can be leapt by you without one; things a human could climb with equipment and preparation you can climb with your fingers and toes.
Suddenness of Death
    Weapons on your person can be drawn instantly even if you were wearing them on your back, or hiding them in your boot, or were tied up and couldn't possibly have reached them. Enemies who speak with you are surprised when you attack them, regardless of how prepared they were. Your fists are medium weapons when attacking from surprise.
    You are immune to fear and charm effects, and get an extra save against all spells whether or not they normally allow one.  Wounds do not visibly slow you until they kill you. Shouting your name as your charge into battle provokes morale checks from 1HD mooks.
Insatiable Slayer
    Take an entire extra turn in every round of combat. If fighting against only enemies with fewer HD than you, take as many extra turns as you have levels. Enemies you kill are physically shattered and strewn across the landscape. Grim-faced skalds sing of you, quietly, and you are feared by all who known your name.

    There, this fellow ought to be enough to protect any number of financiers and monks and sages and vielleurs.

Assorted Equipment:

  1. Ringsword. A medium weapon, rather like a large rapier, and named for its oversized ring pommel. Nobles would thread a ball-and-chain through the ring in ages past, but that style of fighting has mostly fallen out of fashion. 1 slot.
  2. Revolver. A handgun with a six-chambered rotating cylinder. Effective range of 20', with -1 to-hit every 10' past that. Deals 2d6 damage on a successful hit. 1 slot
  3. Cartridge case. Waterproof, fairly fire-resistant, may be used as a bludgeon. Contains up to ten pre-measured paper cartridges and bullets. This one is decorated with an image of a man lying face down, apparently dead, with ten swords pinning him to the ground. 1 slot.
  4. Shortbow. A tool for hunting and killing silently. Effective range of 20', with -1 to-hit every 10' past that. Deals 1d8 damage on a successful hit. 1 slot.
  5. Quiver. Fairly water- and fire-resistant, may be used as a meadhorn. Contains up to twenty light arrows suitable for a shortbow. This one is decorated with an image of an angel holding a horn to her lips, blowing the final notes of creation, and summoning the dead from the dark places of the world. 1 slot.
  6. 20' of ossgold chain. Effectively unbreakable. Its touch burns the undead. 2 slots.
  7. 50' of rope and grapnel. You can break into a rich man's home easily enough, but this makes exiting from windows much more straightforward. 1 slot altogether.
  8. Skin of chotch. A horrible sort of distilled apple-wine, which can clean wounds or intoxicate strong men in a single swig. Three doses.
  9. Wool cloak with a camouflage pattern of your choice. Options include: forest (green), desert (brown), ice (white and grey), sea (dark blue with green bits), sky (bright blue with white bits), urban (cityscape), Hell (red and orange). 1 slot.
  10. Short Falx. A heavy razor-sharp hooked blade. Seven-feet long if you count its two-foot handle, and mostly unheard of in the civilized world. 2 slots.
  11. Long Falx. A massive (2d6) razor-sharp hooked blade. Ten-feet long if you count its three-foot handle. 4 slots (it is incredibly inconvenient to carry this thing around).
  12. A hammer and a bundle of 10 eighteen-inch iron spikes. 1 slot each. 
  13. A moldering sack of archaic currency. Worth 30 gp, theoretically. ⅓rd slot
  14. Three black-powder grenadoes. Each one flings deadly flak for 100', striking everyone not behind cover (other people are cover) for 1d6 damage. 1 slot each.
  15. Three fire-works. Each one launches a flare 100', which bursts into colored flame at the end for 1d6 damage within 10'. ⅓rd slot each. 
  16. A silk bola tie, weighted enough to be thrown as a set of bolas (light weapon which grapples instead of damaging).
  17. A book of morose poetry about the glory that has passed away, corruption in the hearts of heroes, and the certainty not of death but of growing old and alone after the great deeds are done. ⅓rd slot.
  18. Waxpaper packet of pemmican from your distant, nobly-savage homeland. Three rations worth, can be burnt as fuel, otherwise indestructible. 1 slot.
  19. Ram's horn, bound with gold wire. Produces an eerie sound audible for miles in still weather. ⅓rd slot.
  20. A weird or inexplicable curio. Roll 1d6:
    1. A document that promises the bearer full, permanent, heritable rights to a city somewhere in the west — if they can wipe out the army of undead which currently occupy it.
    2. An Unquenchable Coal. Provides a limitless supply of heat and particularly dim light. Those who swallow it permanently lose a point of HP and gain the kindling ability of the Manufactories
    3. A double-sized pen with golden nib, usable as a light weapon.
    4. Seven spare strings for the legendary harp of Alden, made of some snowy material much softer than bronze. Notes plucked from these strings bring tears to the eyes of listeners, and lull the grievously wounded to sleep.
    5. A chaturanga raja piece of white jade, with a deep scar on one side. Its mate, in black chalcedony, is somewhere in the distant north. Your piece cannot face that way directly.
    6. The skull of someone important. Your choice.


  1. An interesting take! Very few of the common staples, but definitely a Fighter

    1. I wrote a comment about the differences between "a Fighter as the member of the combat-focused party who stands in the front" and "a Fighter as the member of an expeditionary force of specialists, who specializes in Fighting as opposed to Medicine or Dinosaur Psychology", but Google ate it. Oh well. Thank you for your comment.

    2. I think I understand the gist of your eaten comment anyway, and it certainly makes sense! The fact that all your Archeologists and Thieves “need” to have combat abilities in order for the game to “work” puts the Fighter in a strange position, right?

    3. Exactly. My proposed solution to the Fighter being a somewhat boring class who is a little better at the thing that everyone can do is to make the Fighter capable of doing the fighting for everyone, with the others basically incapable of defending themselves. The game would have to be structured differently from one which assumes a capable base "adventurer", but it might be interesting.

  2. I do always have room for more overpowered fighter class variant.

  3. You've made three fighters now - one more and you could have a character with 4 A templates in Fighter, which seems somewhat paradoxical.