Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ultimate Punch

In old 3.5 parlance, "initiator" referred to three classes from the Tome of Battle. They were martial classes
that used stances and maneuvers that they studied like spells. Proponents appreciated that they could play
a strictly nonmagical character with interesting options. Detractors, among other things, said the classes felt
like cheesy wuxia or anime characters who called out their attacks before connecting. The initiator class
below somewhat embraces that, while also subsuming classes like 3.5's spellblade and duskblade, and
Pathfinder's magus. It can lean into magical moves or be purely mundane.

INITIATOR (warblade, magus, spellblade, crusader)
Technique, Armor Focus (light)
Second Magnitude, attack +1
Armor Focus (medium)
Third Magnitude, attack +1
Minor Resistance
Fourth Magnitude, attack +1
Armor Focus (heavy)
Fifth Magnitude, attack +1
Cut Down
Sixth Magnitude, attack +1
Starting Skills: Any one expertise, acrobatics, and one other.
Technique: You train in a martial tradition to refine dueling techniques. Every level, learn a signature move that you can integrate into your repertoire. Unlike spells, signature moves can be performed any number of times per day. You can learn additional moves with a relevant skill test, either by training with a master or studying a fighting folio.
Armor Focus: You can concentrate on moves while wearing light armor, and at later levels can concentrate while wearing medium and heavy armor.
Minor Resistance: Choose a peril on the table below or roll randomly. Add half your level to rolls to resist it (rounded up.)
Table 3, again: perils
  1. Fear
  2. Poison (including alcohol)
  3. Pushing
  4. Cold
  5. Heat
  6. Charms
  7. Disarming
  8. Tripping
Cut down: You can slay lesser combatants with a thought. As a free action, you may slay any character with fewer than half of your hit dice. They must be within range of one of your attacks and susceptible to it. You may do this multiple times in a round, but the total levels of characters slain cannot exceed your own.
Daniel Romanovsky
The signature moves of an initiator encompass several fighting traditions: the formal techniques of duelists, the stances (or wuxia special attacks) of martial artists, the showmanship of gladiators and luchadores, or the spells of the fighting mage. All signature moves require concentration. While some signature moves are magical, they are unlike spells in some respects. For one, they do not require spell slots to use. Rather, they can be used as often as the initiator gets the opportunity. Magic users cannot learn signature moves, nor may initiators learn spells. Finally, many moves do not requires an action, instead augmenting attacks.
However, moves which are, in fact, magical, should be treated as such. They cannot be performed in an anti-magic field, for instance.

In broad strokes, signature move magnitudes have the following structure to give them a “combo” feel:
  1. 1. General, minor
  2. 2. Specific, inflict condition
  3. 3. Payoff based on condition
  4. 4. Counter interference, set up next step
  5. 5. Specific, inflicts severe condition
  6. 6. Finisher

Move Name
Agrippa’s Mechanical Supremacy
If an adjacent opponent would test a dexterity skill, they roll with disadvantage. If they fail, they are knocked prone and disarmed.
Bear Brunt
You gain one point of DR for each point of attack your opponent has less than you.
If an adjacent foe is prone and unarmed, you may demand their immediate surrender. If they don’t comply, your next attack against them is an automatic critical. If they comply, you must treat them fairly.
Bonetti’s Defense
Ignore the negative effects of difficult terrain.
As a free action, you may slay any character with fewer than half of your base strength. They must be within range of one of your attacks and susceptible to it. You may do this multiple times in a round, but the total strength of characters slain cannot exceed your own.
Burning Blow
Magic. Your attacks are fiery, and deal an additional 1 point of damage. This can also start mundane fires.
Capo Ferro
When you make a free attack for an opponent’s movement through difficult terrain, you may also make a free combat maneuver.
Chill Touch
Magic. You may take -2 to hit. If you do, a damaged target gets -2 to dexterity tests and -1 to hit. This does not stack with itself.
Creative Knots
Reduce the dex skill penalty of your armor by two. Also, you’re really good at tying knots.
Drag Down
If an adjacent target would knock you prone or stun you, you may make a free combat maneuver check to do the same to them, for at least one round.
Drill Break
Ignore a stationary target’s armor bonus to AC.
Eggshell Footwork
Anything within reach of your weapon counts as difficult terrain for your foes.
Engram Maneuver
You may spend a round winding for a sweeping strike. Until your next turn, you get a -4 penalty to AC. Then, when it is your turn your first attack also deals 1d6 temporary strength damage.
Engram’s Focus
You automatically detect the source of any apparent non-charm spells within 30 ft. of you.
Magic. When damaged, you may burst with magical energy. If you do, you and everyone within 15 ft. take 2d6. Others are blinded for 1 round. They may test constitution to ignore the blindness and halve the damage.
For one round after you attack a target, if they target you with a spell they must test dexterity or fail.
Float like a Butterfly
As long as you move more than 10 ft., get +1 to AC until your next turn.
Forceful Arms
Magic. When you disarm a weapon, you may magical send it into another foe within 40 ft., rolling to hit and damage as normal.
Formation Stance
Whenever an ally makes a free attack against a target, if you haven’t already since your last turn, you may make one as well.
Grab Blow
If an adjacent foe would attack an ally, you may redirect the attack to you, with +2 AC. If the foe damages you, your ally may make a free attack agains them.
Groundless Stance
You hover a foot off the ground, and cannot be tripped or affected by most difficult terrain, etc.
Harry Hand
When you damage a foe, until their next turn they incur a point of fatigue if they use a hand for fine manipulation, such as casting a spell.
If an opponent would charge you, you may go prone to evade their attack, instead allowing them to run past you.
Karoma’s Brilliant Blowback
Magic. If an unarmed foe is knocked prone, you may send them flying back 50 ft. If they hit something before that distance, they take 1d6 damage for every 10 ft. they had to go.
Lunging Swan Strike
If you don’t move on your turn, you may extend the reach of your weapon by five feet.
Mercy Stroke
When you strike a stunned opponent, they must test constitution or gorily die. They get a -4 penalty if they half less than half of their maximum hp.
Whenever you deal unarmed damage, the foe must test dexterity or be moved 5 ft. in one direction of your choosing.
Oozing Wound
Magic. When you damage an opponent, the area around them bursts with gore, making it difficult terrain until your next turn.
When you damage a fatigued foe, gain one hp for each point of fatigue they possess (maximum 5.)
Once per combat, you may reduce the damage of an incoming attack by 1d12.
Phoenix Finish
Magic. When you would die, you may test constitution. If you succeed, you lose one constitution and stand up at 1 hp.
Pressure Points
Your unarmed attacks deal 1d6 damage. When you roll a 5 or more on an unarmed attack, the enemy must test strength be stunned for one round. They get a penalty on this roll equal to the number of times they’ve been damaged by your unarmed attacks.
Recurve Dance
Magic. When you damage a foe wearing sundered armor, get a bonus to damage equal to their armor bonus. Additionally, shattered fragments of their defenses begin to float around you, giving you +2 AC with a further +4 AC against ranged attacks.
Reverberation de Laroch
If an enemy hits you but deals no damage, their turn immediately ends and they get -2 AC until their next turn.
Ring the Bell
When you damage a stunned opponent, they must test constitution or be knocked out. They get a penalty on this roll equal to their armor bonus.
Roland’s Bowl
You get a bonus to combat maneuver checks equal to the AC bonus of your armor.
Get +2 to combat maneuvers to sunder armor. If you fully sunder the armor, its wearer must test dexterity or be stunned for one round.
Shocking Slash
Magic. When you attack a target you may take -3 to hit. If you do, they and adjacent foes must test dexterity or take an additional 2d6 damage.
Spirit Dash
Magic. You may fly through the air when charging, which allows you to charge straight up or at angels from the ground. Ignore half of the fall damage incurred when charging.
Sting like a Bee
If you hit a target who is wearing heavier armor than you, they get -1 AC for every 10 ft. they move, rounded up.
Talhoffer Doctrine
Once per round, when you hit an opponent with a manufactured weapon, deal an additional 1d4 unarmed damage as you add a quick jab, elbow, headbutt, or knee.
Thibault’s Dart
Whenever a foe would make an attack against you during your own turn, you may test acrobatics to negate the attack.
Tiger Waits
When an opponent steps forward 5 ft. to attack you, get +3 AC.
Valenzetti’s Blatance
When you hit a blind opponent, it is automatically a critical hit.
Vampiric Touch
Magic. When you successfully damage a foe on a charge, they temporarily lose 1d4 constitution and you gain that much temporary constitution.
Wide Guard
If you do not move on your turn, you may get -2 to grant adjacent allies get +2 AC.

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