Please, help needed for Noble/Soldier concept

Maximo

Mongoose
At last I got my copy of Hyboria's Fiercest. The book is very good, and I've never been a fan of class/rules books (well, I wasn't until Hyboria's Fiercest :wink: ). But I think Vincent has nailed the mood for this setting.

Most of my players also find useful the multiclass options, that is, except one who plays a Noble/Soldier.

The options in the book for a Noble/Soldier are either Proffesional Knight or Fop. He is definitely not a Fop, his character being almost fanatical in his view of honour (and he is a Mitran to make it worse :lol: ). However, as far as combat goes, he is trying to become a fencing master, and I don't think this equates totally with Proffesional Knight.

So, inspired by the ideas on Hyboria's Finest, I've thought that, perhaps, I could give him extra fencing feats instead of Formation Mastery. There are neat options in this book and in Fiercest (2-weapon strike), and I think it would be better than designing some sort of "Fencing Master" PrC.

Perhaps if I could think of a cool, not unbalanced Special Ability fitting this character, I would switch it for a feat, but I haven't managed to devise it.

What do you think I can do? Any comments/suggestions will be welcome.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Maximo said:
At last I got my copy of Hyboria's Fiercest. The book is very good, and I've never been a fan of class/rules books (well, I wasn't until Hyboria's Fiercest :wink: ). But I think Vincent has nailed the mood for this setting.

Most of my players also find useful the multiclass options, that is, except one who plays a Noble/Soldier.

The options in the book for a Noble/Soldier are either Proffesional Knight or Fop. He is definitely not a Fop, his character being almost fanatical in his view of honour (and he is a Mitran to make it worse :lol: ). However, as far as combat goes, he is trying to become a fencing master, and I don't think this equates totally with Proffesional Knight.

So, inspired by the ideas on Hyboria's Finest, I've thought that, perhaps, I could give him extra fencing feats instead of Formation Mastery. There are neat options in this book and in Fiercest (2-weapon strike), and I think it would be better than designing some sort of "Fencing Master" PrC.

Perhaps if I could think of a cool, not unbalanced Special Ability fitting this character, I would switch it for a feat, but I haven't managed to devise it.

What do you think I can do? Any comments/suggestions will be welcome.

I would be delighted to find out how you pursue this idea of a "fencing master!" Please let me know how it goes. In the meanwhile I found a link which may be useful to those interested:

http://www.silven.com/resources/Default.asp?case=show&id=108

Just click on "Download in PDF (250 kb)"

I don't completely like the way they developed the concept, but it may be a foundation to build upon. 8)

It could be useful to designate what kind of fencing master, whether rapier, sabre (i.e. one-handed), or warsword, greatsword (2-handed).
I may distinguish a Zingaran Fencing Master from a Nemedian, Vendhyan, Khitan Fencing Master, etc. each with different features, benefits/penalties.
 
Thanks for the link. Not as interested in the swordsman information but browsing the Sylven Publishing site was interesting. I have never heard of them before. I picked up the Curses source book. I think it will come in handy in my Conan campaign. I ordered the book (I have enough PDF printed stuff to try to keep organized as it is) but there was a PDF download. I will let you know if there is anything interesting.....

HLD
 

Maximo

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag wrote:
I would be delighted to find out how you pursue this idea of a "fencing master!"

Right now, me and the player are discussing how to make the trick :wink: .
In keeping the balance of my Conan game, I'm striving to stay clear of Prestige Classes as much as possible. I think that with minor changes even a Noble/Soldier could become a very skilled swordman. Of course there are other options, for example a Soldier/Pirate or even a Noble/Pirate could be tweaked for fighting this way.

It could be useful to designate what kind of fencing master, whether rapier, sabre (i.e. one-handed), or warsword, greatsword (2-handed).
Sorry, I'm quite absent-minded and forgot it...

He plays a Zingaran, so as he employs the Intricate Swordplay feat he is limited to either arming or broadsword. After some talking, he ended up employing a broadsword (perhaps a bit more unrealistic than using a arming sword, but I'm no expert at this) and a shield (the rules allow it and at low levels I can't argue with self-preservation over flashiness).

We have decided, though, that as soon as he gets a pair of new suitable feats he will switch to a broadsword in one hand and a short sword/poniard or whatever light weapon which makes sense in the other.

I don't have his sheet at the moment, but I remember he has Intricate Swordplay with all prerreqs. We have almost planned his supposed advancement to level 20 (if he survives, of course :twisted: ) so he doesn't make feat choices he later regrets.
He will go for a Noble 12/Soldier 8. As a Zingaran, he gets a DV Parry equal to that of a Soldier (15) and a Attack Bonus equal to that of a soldier (20) at 20th level because of Regional Features.

Reason for him having more Noble levels than Soldier levels is that he needs to be also a competent leader. Perhaps when I said "fencing master" I should have mentioned that though I want the character to be good with the sword, there are campaign reasons to have other skills also.

Anyway, he is not aimed to be a "fencing god".

Feats already decided: Intricate swordplay+all prerreqs+2weapon defence+improved 2 weapon attack+combat reflexes+reflexive parrý+improved critical (broadsword)

We are still pondering whether he shall take Improved Feint and Power attack or Power Attack plus 2 weapon strike. This has been motivated by a game-tested broadsword ineficiency against heavily armoured foes.
Weapon specialisation will also be considered, that is, if there are "feat slots" available for it.

As for "miscellaneous" feats, he took Iron Will (to suit the idea of a driven man fighting an almost hopeless crusade) and Steely Gaze (to show his intimidating nature, which he uses during duels).

Trouble is that some feats which would no doubt match a fencer style (at least in a fantsy game) like Analyst (from Hyboria's Fiercest) can't be taken due to the overwhelming prerreqs of Intricate Swordplay (which needs other 3 feats IIRC).

I may distinguish a Zingaran Fencing Master from a Nemedian, Vendhyan, Khitan Fencing Master, etc. each with different features, benefits/penalties
Absolutely agree. Though have to think how to make it into game mechanics. Perhaps a Khitan could use his Defensive Martial Arts plus Web of Death to fight with counterstrikes only (but a pretty high DV), for example. But this is based only on game terms. What do you think that would be likely tactics, flavour-wise?

PS: Now I remember, I need a straight non noble "fencing master" for the man who trained the PC. I have half of his stats done, but don't know if he is that effective. Any ideas on a "fencing master" with no restrictions will be welcome.

PPS :Sorry, that was quite a rant. Guess I have to learn to write shorter posts 8)
 

Maximo

Mongoose
BTW, Yogah, thanks for the link. Some good ideas there, though I think they would be more suited to other kind of swordman (a Nemedian swordman?)
But, again, I'm no RL expert on fencing or fencing history. Though I find any comment on the theme quite interesting.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
This afternoon I started coming up with information toward a "Fencing Master" (Soldier/Noble) multiclass, but I have to read through Hyboria's Fiercest to see if there is anything useful in it.

One small section of my notes I provide below:

REPUTATION of the Fencing Master and his Apprentice
Apprentices who are under the guidance of a famous Master-at-Arms (level 18+) are at an advantage in a duel combat with an opponent. If the opponent has heard of the Apprentice's Master, the opponent must take an automatic morale penalty on all attacks. The DC is 10+1/2 Fencer's level (round down). With a failed save, the opponent must take a -2 morale penalty to attacks; a successful Will Save drops the penalty to -1.

A Fencing Master, whose reputation may be known far and wide, intimidates his opponents the moment he steps into view. If an accomplished Fencing Master is in melee combat with an opponent, that opponent suffers an automatic morale penalty on all attacks. The DC is 10+1/2 Fencer's level (round down, thus either DC 19 or 20). With a failed save, the opponent must take a -4 morale penalty to attacks; a successful Will Save drops penalty to -2.

A Master-at-Arms is so well-known that his opponents will suffer an automatic -4 morale penalty to their attacks with no possible Will Save. So intimidated are they that there is no hope for them to recover their composure.

Allies of an Apprentice receive a +1 morale bonus to their melee attacks. Allies of a Fencing Master receive a +2 morale bonus to their melee attacks, and allies of a Master-at-Arms receive a +4 morale bonus to their melee attacks. These bonuses stack with those granted to multiple attackers, as well as flanking bonuses.


These are just a rough-draft. These ideas are nothing radically new, mind you. I decided divide the progression into three stages: a younger, greener fencer called an "Apprentice" (levels 1-9); a seasoned, true Fencing Master (10th through 17th); and lastly a veteran, very skilled, almost legendary fencing master a "Master-at-Arms" (levels 18-20), who would be skilled not only with sword, but all manner of wrestling, grappling, polearms (including staff), knives, daggers, &c.

More to come later...

----------------------------------------------------------------


I suppose there could be a maritime (Pirate/Soldier) "fencing master" whose speciality revolves around the use of the cutlass, which, as I understand it, was used by marines, pirates, etc. because longer blades would get hung up in the standing and running rigging of a vessel.
 
Maximo said:
At last I got my copy of Hyboria's Fiercest. The book is very good, and I've never been a fan of class/rules books (well, I wasn't until Hyboria's Fiercest :wink: ). But I think Vincent has nailed the mood for this setting.

Most of my players also find useful the multiclass options, that is, except one who plays a Noble/Soldier.

The options in the book for a Noble/Soldier are either Proffesional Knight or Fop.

Those are, of course, just for inspiration. Also there is the Soldier/Noble in Free Companies (I wrote that section) for the officer just to show there are more archetypes than one for any given class mixture. The idea of the fencing master is a good one.

I think you will like the Argos/Zingara book.
 

Maximo

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag wrote:
I have to read through Hyboria's Fiercest to see if there is anything useful in it.
There are good bits in Hyboria's Finest about soldiers being able to learn to counter a foe's fighting style (using Sense Motive), as well as feats like Analyst which could be of some use for a Fencing Master wannabe. There's also a good maneuver for Intricate Swordplay.

REPUTATION of the Fencing Master and his Apprentice
[...]
That's a neat concept, though I like to be careful when introducing new elements to the game to avoid disrupting game balance. As long as it is not joined by a´+10 to Defence & Attack bonus, I think it's not overpowering, so it's good in this respect. Perhaps I would tone down it a little, as I dislike penalties which can't be avoided at all with a Saving Throw.
What about giving this ability to the Fencing Master and Master-At-Arms only? They could use the -2/-1 and -4/-2 penalties, respectively, thus avoiding the no save situation.
Hey, apprentices don't know all the tricks, do they? :wink:

Also, what do you think about having a character's Reputation Score influencing this ability to scare others? It would prompt characters to duel with other skilled swordmen to improve their standing.
Don't know how to translate it into game terms, though. (What about having half the Reputation bonus added to a character's level to find his "effective" swordman level?)

BTW, as a final note, while I want a character like this to be a very effective fighter, it is worth noting that in the saga, Conan fought one of the best swordmen of his time (Zaporavo, in Pool of the Black Ones, IIRC) and showed that a brutal ammount of sheer strenght and speed can overcome the best technique.
So perhaps an option would be to keep all the penalties (including the -4 w/ no save) but only for civilised characters, who are more eager to fear the character's reputation (it could apply to any character without the Fearless SQ, for example).

Yogah of Yag wrote:
More to come later...
Can't wait. :D

VincentDarlage wrote:
Those are, of course, just for inspiration.
Of course, I got the point, which BTW is one of the things I like the most about that these classbooks. They are great for inspiration.
I know one player who hates multiclassing who asked me to make a Vanir Sea Wolf (from Hyboria's Fiercest) just beacuse of the sheer coolness of the role. 8)

And that's why I'm asking about simmilar ideas to those in the book (for example, taking out Formation combat and exchanging it for a feat or the Reputation of the Fencing Master which Yogah just devised) to flesh out the concept.

I think you will like the Argos/Zingara book.
Indeed! :D
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Maximo said:
That's a neat concept, though I like to be careful when introducing new elements to the game to avoid disrupting game balance. As long as it is not joined by a´+10 to Defence & Attack bonus, I think it's not overpowering, so it's good in this respect. Perhaps I would tone down it a little, as I dislike penalties which can't be avoided at all with a Saving Throw.
What about giving this ability to the Fencing Master and Master-At-Arms only? They could use the -2/-1 and -4/-2 penalties, respectively, thus avoiding the no save situation.
Hey, apprentices don't know all the tricks, do they? :wink:

Also, what do you think about having a character's Reputation Score influencing this ability to scare others? It would prompt characters to duel with other skilled swordmen to improve their standing.
Don't know how to translate it into game terms, though. (What about having half the Reputation bonus added to a character's level to find his "effective" swordman level?)

VincentDarlage wrote:
Those are, of course, just for inspiration.
Of course, I got the point, which BTW is one of the things I like the most about that these classbooks. They are great for inspiration.
I know one player who hates multiclassing who asked me to make a Vanir Sea Wolf (from Hyboria's Fiercest) just beacuse of the sheer coolness of the role. 8)

And that's why I'm asking about simmilar ideas to those in the book (for example, taking out Formation combat and exchanging it for a feat or the Reputation of the Fencing Master which Yogah just devised) to flesh out the concept.

I think you will like the Argos/Zingara book.
Indeed! :D

game balance: you're right. That's got to be one of the hardest aspects of creating an effective RPG these days. I think that only means that those who created the Conan RPG did a remarkably good job.
Your comment that Apprentices may not get the "intimidation bonus" is good. I agree that perhaps only more learned Fencing Masters, especially the Masters-at-Arms need such a benefit. Apprentices in and of themselves wouldn't be able to intimidate, but the very fact that they are studying under a well-known Master may work to their advantage. Food for thought... :wink:

I think that using Reputation would be very necessary here. I will keep tinkering and finding a way to get these ideas to balance nicely.

Howard, favouring Barbarism as we all know well, would have had a distain for "civilized", educated, refined sword-training, so it is no surprise that Howard would have preferred to write a story wherein brute combat triumphed over precision and finesse. As Conan grew older, having had travelled the world and come up against antagonists who were formally trained, I'm sure that he learned from his enemies--at least up to the point where he clove them in twain! :twisted:

To think that Conan never changed and evolved is ludicrous. His skills developed, his perception of himself relative to Hyboria changed, and his combat skills as a King were sure to include at least a few of the "civilized" refinements that were lacking from his abilities as a green, thieving youth fresh from the sullen hills of Cimmeria. Conan had to be a utilitarian with the credo "if it works--use it!"
 

Maximo

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag wrote:
Apprentices in and of themselves wouldn't be able to intimidate, but the very fact that they are studying under a well-known Master may work to their advantage. Food for thought...
What about an Intimidate bonus? It wpuld help the Apprentice when intimidating foes in combat. Fencing Masters and Masters at Arms would also be able to put their Special Ability to work added to whatever common intimidation (Steely Gaze or even a Intimidate standard action) they displayed.
Have to think more about it.

Yogah of Yag wrote:
his combat skills as a King were sure to include at least a few of the "civilized" refinements that were lacking from his abilities as a green, thieving youth fresh from the sullen hills of Cimmeria. Conan had to be a utilitarian with the credo "if it works--use it!"
Of course.
Thanks for taking this into the debate, since now I think about it, perhaps I misworded my statement about the Zaporavo fight.
What I tried to say was that Conan's amazing physical abilities allowed him to defeat a perhaps technically superior foe. However, the gap among them was slight enough to allow for this resolution. If he had crossed Zaporavo at the beggining of his career, the Zingaran would have killed him (only Fate could have avoided that) :wink: .

BTW, didn't one pastche say Conan learned fencing in Zingara?
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Some more sketches from my slowly-evolving multiclass of Fencing Master.
Feel free to comment at your leisure.
-----------------------------

Fencing Masters can be found in any land, save those lost to the depths of utter savagery, such as in the Pictish Wilderness.

Aquilonia is without a doubt the home of the greatest number of Fencing Masters. Nearly every city and larger town boasts of at least one Fencing Master and his Academy, or palestra.

Nemedia...
Their fencing school called ludus.

Corinthia...

Zingaran fencing masters are revered to no end, specializing in lightning-fast attacks and brilliant defensive manoeuvers that seem superhuman. With a mere flick of the wrist, the Zingaran Master can take the ivory buttons off an arrogant youth's vest without even scratching the flesh beneath, or carve a letter in one's silken tunic. With his gentle steel, the Zingaran Master can harmlessly sever the shoulder-straps of a maiden's gown, letting the diaphonous garment fall softly to her delicate ankles. The Zingaran Masters are manifold and now prefer to use one-handed swords that deal piercing attacks, but the Zingaran Masters of old were formidable with two-handed, slashing swords which were the antecedents of the later, lighter weapons.

Fencing Masters of Nordheim are virtually unknown, but one or two may be encountered if one is persistent and/or lucky.

Cimmeria, land of gloom and unending rains, is probably not the stead of many Fencing Masters, however a paltry number of old, weathered war-veterans are the closest thing to the Fencing Masters of more civilized regions of Hyboria.

Stygia, that land of cobweb-strewn secrets, hosts an appreciable number of Fencing Masters, having honed their grim art for innumerable aeons.

---------------------------------------
:D
 

Maximo

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag wrote:
I am a Howard Purist. I have little if any knowledge of pastiche
Can't argue with this. Even though I read some of the pastiches, I know they are quite inferior to the real thing. In fact, I am quite sure I can tell which paragraphs from de Camp's modified "The Black Stranger" are from Howard and which are not.

However, for RPGs purpouses there are a few things which can be hoarded from pastiches, and that's a good thing.
In any event, in the case of the pastiche where I saw that quote... well, you did not lose a big deal (unless you are a fan of Toth Amon being the mastermind behind all evils in Hyboria, which I think is not the case). :wink:

Yogah of Yag wrote:
Some more sketches from my slowly-evolving multiclass of Fencing Master.
Feel free to comment at your leisure.
Great!
Just two comments:
-What about Khitai masters? I think perhaps there would be some students of mystical martial arts interested in mastering the blade as a way to enlightening, you know, that sort of *fictional* thing.

-Your description of Zingaran masters reminded me that I forgot to tell which Social Abilities would get the player with the Noble/Soldier.
We talked about taking Savoire Faire (for fencing in style) and, thanks to Hyboria's Finest, now there are two interesting options for the second Ability. One is a feat which intimidates those who would fight you (simmilar to Do You Know Who I Am? but which I think can affect somewhat barbs and people who do not care about social order) and other which would make a foe rely on his worst Mental (Int, Cha, Wis)ability while using Sense Motive to avoid a feint (among other uses, but this is the one more likely for this player :twisted: ).

I think those Social Abilities could be useful for a Fencing Master. What do you think? Some (perhaps all 8) ) of them could be used for this character concept...
 

Maximo

Mongoose
I came up with one combat maneuver to simulate how a true fencing master's techniques & experience allow him to control a fight. Please, let me know what you think about it (unbalanced, over or underpowered or whatever flaws it has)

I've got you now! (Combat Maneuver)

Prerrequisites: BAB 16+, Intricate Swordplay or special training under a Fencing Master

Circumstance: Player engaged in a combat which has lasted at least 10-Int bonus+opponent's Wis bonus rounds. This maneuver can be used only once in a fight, though if there are several enemies, it can be used once against each of them. Must be wielding a suitable fencing weapon (usually an arming sword or broadsword).

Benefit: Player has subtly out-maneuvered his foe to a point where he can use one of the secret maneuvers he has developed during his fencing career. If he wins an opposed Bluff vs Sense Motive check where he gets a special Int bonus, he may add his higher mental bonus (Int, Wis or Cha) to one of the following: Attack roll, Weapon damage, Bluff check to feint, Disarm check, Sunder check, Initiative (changes initiative count for the remainder of the combat, can only be used in a 1 on 1 fight), critical threat range (after any modification by Improved critical or Greater critical). The benefits last just for one round (except for the change in Init).

NOTE 1: Perhaps Sunder is not that appropiate for "stilish" fencing, though I do not know about those 2 handed fencing styles.

NOTE 2: Perhaps the Maneuver can be modified to fit other fencing styles (w/ warsword, greatsword or sabre, for example), though it could involve a modification of Intricate Swordplay feat or a special Combat Maneuver which allows people specially trained to use such weapons when fencing.

NOTE 3:perhaps I should have arranged for easier mechanics. I'll go on tinkering with the concept in any event...
 
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