Now, this is something where we can do really a lot of things. If you want a good example of what I'll try to accomplish take a look at Refinement's HLAs.
The base concept is that all KR's classes cap at 20th level. At epic levels all classes will rely exclusively on HLAs to eventually improve their base features (such as barbarian's physical resistance or kensai's parry/hit/dmg bonus) or get new features/abilities.
Each true class should have an almost unique base table (Paladins and Rangers shouldn't use Fighter's table anymore, though they might still share a bunch of HLAs), and each kit (true class included) should have at least 1-2 unique HLAs.
Last but not least, I never liked Greater versions of the same ability making the lesser versions completely obsolete just one level later. Greater versions (e.g. Greater Whirwind Attack) will be available only at higher levels (e.g. at 25th lvl) and selectable less times than the lesser one (e.g. you can use WWA 5 times/day, but Gr.WWA can be used only once). This is also useful to differentiate/limit multi-class characters imo (e.g. a Fighter/Mage can get WWA, but only a True Fighter can get GWWA).
Whirlwind Attack & Gr.Whirlwind Attack
Long story: I don't like WWA setting apr to 10 because it favors too much certain weapon styles, and it ignores the starting apr value (e.g. grand-mastery's increased apr). A character proficient with a two-handed greatsword suddenly has the same attack rate of a dual wielder with grand-mastery in short swords, and the slow firing heavy xbow starts to fire bolts as fast as a fast firing short bow (e.g. Tuigan Bow's main feature completely disappear - not to mention IR's Giant-hair Xbow is even slower than normal xbows for a reason and needs to remain such).
Short story: I suggest making WWA double the number of attacks (for 2 rounds) instead of setting apr to 10 (for 1 round).
What do you think of vanilla's heavy -4 penalty to hit/dmg rolls? I suggest to lower it to -2, especially considering that the lesser version will actually be the most used one now (unlike vanilla where you simply pick it once and never care about it again). The Greater WWA (with no penalties, and maybe a slightly longer duration?) will now be available only at 25th lvl (pretty much excluding multi-class fighters from reaching it), and might be available only once/day.
Power Attack & Smite
I was thinking to rename "Power Attack" to something more consistent to what the ability really did (e.g. Stunning Attack), but I can live with the current name (at least I get no complains for the eventual new name). I kinda liked that Smite caused 'unconsciousness' instead of 'stunning' (it makes more sense imo - an uber powerful hit should not leave you on your foot and simply "stunned"), but as it stands now too many creatures would be immune to this ability even when they should not (because the game currently doesn't differentiate between unconsciousness and sleep). Overall I guess the ability per se is more or less fine (it's pretty much Monk's Stunning Fist on steroids).
I do want to rename "Smite" instead, because it doesn't hint the actual effect, and it reminds really too much Paladin's Smite Evil. I think we can just follow what's already there for all other HLAs and call it Greater Power Attack. Regarding its actual effects instead, are we sure the "knockback" effect is an advantage? I assume an epic warrior don't want to knock away a disabled opponent (and then run to him) when he could smash it on the ground and finish him. I suggest to simply make it the natural improvement over PA, adding for example a "no save is allowed if the target has less than 90 hit points". What do you think?
P.S Btw, I don't understand why PA was a prerequisite for Critical Strike, which does a completely different thing imo, and I propose to separate CS from this line of HLAs.
Deathblow & Gr.Deathblow
I never liked (nor used) this HLA because of its HD limitation. It was either too powerful (against low level creatures it's a no save and die) or completely useless (against 90% of ToB opponents it did absolutely nothing). I suggest a solution without HD limitations but which allows a save, much like Monk's Quivering Palm. If we want to limit this HLA, we may use PW:Kill limitation (target needs to have less than 60 hit points), or simply impose a -4 penalty to thac0 and consider it as a sort of "ultimate called shot".
If Deathblow is limited to creatures with less than 60 hit points, then Gr.Deathblow will not. If Deathblow is not limited (I think thac0 penalty and a relatively easy save is enough to balance it) then Gr.Deathblow will improve upon it by slaying creatures with less then 60 hp without allowing a save (aka making this a 1/day PW:Kill which requires a hit roll).
Critical Strike & ...
I suppose Critical Strike per se is pretty much fine, is it? Even when the target is not vulnerable to critical hits it's at least a "always hit" ability, not great but useful sometimes (e.g. when a WS needs to quickly and surely hit that damn mage before he re-cast PfMW).
If we agree about moving CS away from the Power Attack line of HLAs we may decide to add an improved version (e.g. it also causes some debilitating effect and/or bleeding damage).
Battle Cry* & War Cry
I'd improve vanilla HLA and make it one of a "two-tiers" line with something like Battle Cry as prerequisite or Greater War Cry as improvement.
Regarding the pre-existing War Cry I have a simple question, does a mighty barbarian/berserker really want his puny opponents to scatter and flee away? Wouldn't a sort of "paralyzed with fear" or "stunned" effect be much better?
For the eventual lesser version I suggest making it grant +1 bonus to hit/dmg/saves for allies and -1 penalty to opponents (a sort of quick Chant).
P.S I also thought to further differentiate the kits giving them different war cries (e.g. True Fighters getting a buffing Battle Orders, Barbarian and Berserker a debuffing Battle Cry, Kensai a stunning/damaging Ki Shout) but I'm really not sure about it, and in any case that will have to wait later versions of KR.
I've always had serious problems with the uncapped %, and vanilla game made really too easy to reach incredibly high % values or even 100%+ resistance (allowing to be healed by a mace crushing the your skull, which is quite silly).
Long story short: I suggest to reduce the resistance from 40% to 20%, but to make it work vs. any type of damage, not just physical damage.
This HLA should grant permanent additional hit points (I suggest +10hp), and should be selectable multiple times.
Superior Weapon Training & Weapon Mastery* (True Fighter Only)
A True Fighter's unique HLA may for example grant Specialization (++) and/or Mastery (+++) in any weapon. We may also split this in different HLAs if necessary (e.g. a melee weapons and ranged ones, or bladed, piercing and blunt weapons).
If we don't find enough "True Fighter only" HLAs we may opt instead for restricting some of them to kits. For example Critical Strike doesn't seem much appropriate for a barbarian.
It will grant a permanent +5% to physical resistance, and is selectable up to 4 times, allowing them to reach a permanent 40%.
I'm still uncertain about this HLA not only because of its sheer power (it pretty much means the Barbarian/Berserker will ALWAYS be enraged, and never fatigued) but mainly because imo it removes too much flavor from the whole Rage thing. Getting fatigued after raging is very iconic and a must conceptually imo. Am I wrong?
My first thought was to grant this class a Greater Warcry, but then I though there may be a better and more unique way to exploit the concept of an intimidating warrior.
KR's Berserker has (and will probably keep) a fast healing ability which allows them to very slowly regain the huge amount of hit points they are going to sustain due to their reckless behaviour (-4 AC penalty when enraged). This HLA should permanently improve this almost supernatural ability, allowing epic Berserkers to regain lost hit points much faster and behave even more recklessly.
Grants a permanent +1 AC vs. melee weapons, and is selectable up to 4 times, allowing them to reach a permanent 40%.
Grants a permanent +5% chance to score critical hits. Should this HLA be available to True Fighters too?
It will grant a permanent +5% to magic resistance, and is selectable up to 4 times, allowing them to reach a permanent 40%.
Edited by Demivrgvs, 19 May 2013 - 06:01 AM.