I guess it's time to share what's going on under the hood.
I wanted to release the current beta version of KR's fighters this weekend (I've already packaged everything), but then from few WS-related doubts I and Arda (who's now running a BG1 game and should test KR within it) started a mini-revolution. I'll still try to meet my target release during this weekend, as the following suggested changes shouldn't be a huge problem to implement, but the problem is quickly reaching a consensus on what has to be done and what not.
Barbarian & Berserker
I was already really satisfied with what I did, but after discussing the matter again with Arda I'd like to make them even more different. It all comes down to giving them two more distinct concepts.
Berserker: we suggest to make it pretty much be our version of PnP Frenzied Berserker, thus a less "reliable" but almost unstoppable killing machine.
Barbarian: this instead should be a variant of the true fighter, less skilled with weapons and combat tactics (unlike fighters he lacks martial training), less armored (heavy armors don't fit his wild style of combat), but stronger, faster and tougher - the pinnacle of "physicality". Unlike Berserker's rage his version should be less "supernatural" (e.g. less immunities), a temporary surge of adrenaline which boosts his already exceptional physical prowness (aka he fights beyond his limits for a short time and then ends up winded) rather than Berserker's inhuman reckless rampage.
Anyway, let's get into details.
If you ask me, concept wise, the Berserker should have been a Barbarian's kit, not a Fighter kit, but I guess suggesting that is too daring. On one hand keeping Berserker's heavy armor proficiency and grandmastery helps differentiating the two classes, otoh it prevents the class to truly behave as per PnP imo. For example I cannot give it an Improved Power Attack, because unlike PnP it would stack with Fighter's superior weapon skill (aka grandmastery's higher dmg output and faster attack rate), making it kinda OP imo. Thus, let's assume we want it to remain a fighter, and focus on what can be done to further differentiating it from a Barbarian:
+ frenzy (or the improved versions at higher levels) may get additional immunities (e.g. he cannot be slowed, entangled, pinned, nauseated, etc.).
+ at higher levels (either at 10th lvl with the first rage upgrade or even later on) he gets PnP Deathless Frenzy. This pratically means that while frenzied a berserker can be brought down to 0 hp (technically it will be 1) but he is still able to fight; if not cured at the end of the rage the berserker will be knocked unconscious (as he takes 10-20 stunning damage when the rage ends).
- while enraged he not only suffer -2 penalty to AC but also a penalty to reflex based saves (aka saves vs. breath). Within PnP a frenzied berserker automatically fail those saves, and while I would not opt for such a drastic drawback (should I?), I do agree with the concept. An enraged Berserker doesn't dodge an incoming Fireball, he charges right through it toward the stupid mage who dared to scratch him.
- PnP berserker's major drawback, loss of control
(aka 'berserk' opcode) should be implemented imo, but to a lesser extent, as we don't want it to become an almost unplayable class as its PnP version. It should be triggered either by a low hp %, or when struck by an opponent (I vote for the latter as per PnP) but it should allow a relatively easy will save (e.g. at +4 bonus) and/or last no more than a bunch of rounds imo, because we don't want it to be almost always out of control, only to be somewhat unpredictable/unreliable. Note that while out of control the frenzied berserker will get additional +2 to hit/dmg (as per opcode), thus this aspect will make it potentially more dangerous than a fighter even when not fully enraged!
- We also discussed to add PnP subdual damage to Berserker's Frenzy, which should simulates berserker's reckless attitude while enraged, but I'm not sure I like it because of the damage animation (I'll test negative regeneration rate though), and also because I think AC and saves vs. breath penalties would already perform such role, making the character more likely to get hit or heavily damaged.
- Within PnP Frenzied Berserker rage also grants +1 apr, and his Power Attack (aka KR Fighter's Offensive Stance) grants more damage than common fighters, but I would not opt for these unless we decide to make this class a "barbarian's kit" (aka limited to specialization). Within PnP the Frenzied Berserker is a barbarian's PrC, thus it normally doesn't get neither fighter's superior weapon skill nor his proficiency with heavy armors. Getting +1 apr and an Improved Power Attack is too much imo.
I was thinking to suggest making his rage look once again similar to his vanilla/PnP version, but merging it with the current KR's concept (which in turn is based upon PnP PHBII and Pathfinder's ideas). Short story: making it grant +x to STR & CON (vanilla's rage granted +4 to these two stats), but adding to it +x to DEX (to replace the current bonus to AC), movement rate and save vs. breath.
While writing the above I remembered why I changed it to the current concept (which doesn't increase stats):
* stat tables are a mess, thus +x to STR, DEX and CON gives highly variable results
* +x to STR and CON makes this rage very similar to Berseker's one (improved dmg and hit points)
So, which concept do you prefer?
Almost nothing has changed here, though I've altered its base +2 AC bonus to make it work only against melee attacks, to stress the concept that ranged combat is one of his worst weaknesses, and that such AC bonus is a parry-like effect, not an armor-like one.
Arda suggests to make this kit immune to fear as per PnP, but I'll let him convince you because I'm not.
Short story: here I have a problem similar to the whole Berserker=Barbarian issue. The Inquisitor is pretty much a better Wizard Slayer.
So, as an effort to make the two classes more different I was thinking to suggest limiting the WS to light armors (instead of heavy ones) and giving it back mastery (+++) in weapons (with KR's GM table it means getting +1 to hit and +1/2 apr). This way the WS would at least look different, as a faster and more skilled warrior. What do you think?
Edited by Demivrgvs, 19 June 2012 - 06:06 AM.