Author Topic: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill  (Read 313 times)

StellarNope

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Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« on: April 10, 2018, 07:29:15 PM »
A number of feats were added in the latest hak update, notably a number for Fighters on a charisma track. All of these look decent, though I am wondering if there was, perhaps, some oversights regarding them? The main issues I have with them are the high costs of entry, though there are other issues as well, which I will go over.

The first part is the level requirement, starting at level 10 and going as high as level 16. This is fairly high compared to the benefits of the abilities, especially as compared to abilities of other classes or spells, even low level ones which I'll highlight further down. I'd recommend that the level requirements be halved for each, though that leads to the next issue.

That issue is the skill point cost. As it stands Influence is not a class skill for fighters, so in order to take these feats you have to spend 2 skill points for every rank, making the feats cost 8, 12, and 16 skill points, respectively. This is a fairly massive cost for a class that only gets 2 skill points per level base, 5 points per level if they are a Human with 14 Int. No other class in PotM, to my knowledge, has a skill requirement for a feat that is not on their class skill list. The only thing that comes close, I believe, is the Blackguard requirement of 5 ranks in hide, though that is a prestige class. Unless influence becomes a class skill for fighters, which would be my recommendation, along with any class getting it as a class skill, then the required ranks need to be lowered.

Next up is the power of the feats, such as uses per day, benefit, a lack of scaling, and comparisons to other classes.

Rallying Cry is +1 attack and 20% speed for 1 turn+1 round per 2 character levels+1 round per Cha modifier, 3 times per day.
Inspire Competence is +1 attack and damage and +2 saves versus mind-affecting, one time per day, for 1 turn+1 turn per 2 character levels+1 per cha modifier.
Final Stand is 2d10 temporary HP to all allies for the same duration as Inspire.

In a vaccuum those might seem okay if they had nothing to be compared to, but we don't play in a vaccuum.

Clerics and Paladins get Bless at levels 1/6, Prayer at 5/12, and Clerics get Mass Aid at 5. All of these effects stack, have comparable durations, similar or greater power, and lower costs of entry. For a feat comparison and not a spell comparison Clerics and Paladins can grant 3 points of regen per round, group healing, a group speed buff, and more for no skill cost 3 times per day plus Cha modifier, not counting other feats that give more turn undead uses. Bards can give +1 attack/damage/AC/skills and +1d8 temporary HP at level 6, six times per day for 1 minute each use. At level 10, the earliest you can select the fighter Cha feat track bards get an additional +1 attack/damage, +2 skills, +1 saves, and another d8 of temp HP. And finally at level a minimum level of 3 bards can select a feat that gives an additional +1 to all bard song numerical values.

A final upgrade I'd suggest for the feats is to add some sort of scaling for the actual buffs, in addition to the durations. What form that scaling would take, I'm not certain.

That is a lot of numbers up there, and comparisons. I'm not trying to say that fighters should be able to do all the things that clerics, paladins, or bards can do, just that there needs to be some parity in usefulness of things. If there is not then it that feat track just looks like a boon for a paladin that falls and becomes a fighter.

ethinos

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 09:27:06 PM »
All three of those feats seem to be further improvements from one to the next. Just make the first one require the current prerequisites and allow the others to only need the previous feat as a prerequisite (and maybe the fighter level requirement) to add their extra benefits on top of the 3 uses per day of the previous feat(s). So, you really are just leveling up the feat by sinking more feats into it, which is fine as fighters certainly aren't lacking in the feat department.
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StellarNope

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 11:09:56 PM »
That would be nice, though I'd still recommend that the requirements for the initial feat be lowered and possibly influence be added as a class skill.

Exordium

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2018, 05:06:02 AM »
The first part is the level requirement, starting at level 10 and going as high as level 16. This is fairly high compared to the benefits of the abilities, especially as compared to abilities of other classes or spells, even low level ones which I'll highlight further down. I'd recommend that the level requirements be halved for each, though that leads to the next issue.
Well, the idea kind of is that these feats are gated for those investing heavily into fighter. For example, we don't necessarily want that those aiming for 15 rogue/5 fighter, or 15 bard/5 fighter, or 6 fighter/4 rogue/10 divine champion get access to these feats. This is so that investing more levels into fighter offers something that you wouldn't as easily otherwise get.

That issue is the skill point cost. As it stands Influence is not a class skill for fighters, so in order to take these feats you have to spend 2 skill points for every rank, making the feats cost 8, 12, and 16 skill points, respectively. This is a fairly massive cost for a class that only gets 2 skill points per level base, 5 points per level if they are a Human with 14 Int. No other class in PotM, to my knowledge, has a skill requirement for a feat that is not on their class skill list. The only thing that comes close, I believe, is the Blackguard requirement of 5 ranks in hide, though that is a prestige class. Unless influence becomes a class skill for fighters, which would be my recommendation, along with any class getting it as a class skill, then the required ranks need to be lowered.
If you were an elf going for a two-handed sword with 13 int, you could still maximize discipline, parry and influence, which would be the bare minimum skills you'd want.

Clerics and Paladins get Bless at levels 1/6, Prayer at 5/12, and Clerics get Mass Aid at 5. All of these effects stack, have comparable durations, similar or greater power, and lower costs of entry. For a feat comparison and not a spell comparison Clerics and Paladins can grant 3 points of regen per round, group healing, a group speed buff, and more for no skill cost 3 times per day plus Cha modifier, not counting other feats that give more turn undead uses. Bards can give +1 attack/damage/AC/skills and +1d8 temporary HP at level 6, six times per day for 1 minute each use. At level 10, the earliest you can select the fighter Cha feat track bards get an additional +1 attack/damage, +2 skills, +1 saves, and another d8 of temp HP. And finally at level a minimum level of 3 bards can select a feat that gives an additional +1 to all bard song numerical values.

A final upgrade I'd suggest for the feats is to add some sort of scaling for the actual buffs, in addition to the durations. What form that scaling would take, I'm not certain.
I don't think it's fair to compare directly between the classes like this. When we add feats like this that require specific skill and ability point requirements, we don't necessarily do it because we want to give a class comparable power to other classes; we do it because we want to add versatility to the builds for that class and because we want to give flavor for those builds.

Personally I worry that if these feats were any stronger than this, then it would start to feel comparably much weaker to not get them for any fighter; so, every fighter would become a charisma fighter. Personally I already would be tempted to say that for at least non-dex fighter concepts, getting these might be mechanically better than not getting them.

The one feat that does appear a little weak compared to the others is the Final Stand, which is also the feat with highest level requirement. By level 16, 2d10 HP is just very little. But again, if it was more, it would make more sense to get that feat than get +2 constitution (by dropping the 12 charisma).
That is a lot of numbers up there, and comparisons. I'm not trying to say that fighters should be able to do all the things that clerics, paladins, or bards can do, just that there needs to be some parity in usefulness of things. If there is not then it that feat track just looks like a boon for a paladin that falls and becomes a fighter.
I think these are great in flavor for noble-born fighter backgrounds with that 12+ charisma. And these are decently strong feats compared to the situation where you didn't get them. By investing 2 points to charisma, you're typically removing 2 from dex or constitution. So you're losing 1 AC (unless you get dex buffed) or 1 HP per level and in return you get party buffs for +1 AB and damage. If you use them conservatively, the durations should let you have at least one of them up for every encounter. It's a decent deal in my books. It definitely adds flavor with mechanical benefits to those fighters who have charisma and influence; revolution leaders, noble borns, military leaders, you know, stuff like that.

All three of those feats seem to be further improvements from one to the next. Just make the first one require the current prerequisites and allow the others to only need the previous feat as a prerequisite (and maybe the fighter level requirement) to add their extra benefits on top of the 3 uses per day of the previous feat(s). So, you really are just leveling up the feat by sinking more feats into it, which is fine as fighters certainly aren't lacking in the feat department.
They actually have different durations and uses per day. Full descriptions are here, http://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=47386.0
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 05:14:09 AM by Exordium »

peps

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2018, 09:29:01 PM »
When it's far easier for other classes to do a fighter's job better almost a hundred percent of the time, I believe it's fair to be able to compare them. In my eyes, a fighter who is buffed should easily outclass a cleric or paladin when it comes to swinging at one another, but that's not the case.

I feel the point being expressed by Exordium (and correct me if I'm wrong) here is that these feats are meant for roleplay flavor. While I don't happen to disagree, the numbers don't represent that fully. There's too much needed to be sinked in order to receive these feats and get the most out of them; as pointed out by Stellar, skillpoints are an issue; most individuals who play fighters tend to play them as stereotypical warriors, so expecting them to abandon heal (given their lack of healing), concentration (because of taunt), and taunt (if they multiclass as most fighters need to) seems out of place. The feats give off this expectation of individuals needing to take human for the extra skillpoint per level. In essence, what seems to be strictly for roleplay becomes its own arguably bad sub-build now.

Personally, I feel like these feats should take on one of two different paths;
1. If possible, have these feats scale harder off CHA; rather than just +1 turn/CHA, make it +2/CHA or possibly +3/CHA.

2. Bump the numbers up slightly. Rather than just +1 attack, make it +2. Rather than 1 turn base duration (ignoring the 1 turn from CHA), make it 2 or 3.

Otherwise, these feats are very similar in situation to the necromancy summon feats; sound really cool, but aren't really useful because of duration gimps.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 09:30:32 PM by peps »

Exordium

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2018, 04:13:53 AM »
In my view, any buff to the feats would just mean that not getting them becomes the inferior choice. This would, again, be bad from the perspective of build diversity. These feats aren't necessarily meant for every fighter to get; they are meant to enchant the viability and add flavor to those concepts that already would have opted for positive charisma and influence.

I hope that in the future, we can continue diversifying build options in the way of adding feat-based perks to specific builds. Perhaps one day we'll add more fighter things that require some other skill or ability point sacrifice (well, there's Armor Skin I suppose that requires 16 con already). But these should always come with drawbacks and they should never be the strictly best route to take.

I agree that fighters could see some minor enchant more, but it's a tricky balance to strike.

Quote
In my eyes, a fighter who is buffed should easily outclass a cleric or paladin when it comes to swinging at one another, but that's not the case.
If buffed fighter beat a buffed paladin and unbuffed fighter beat unbuffed paladin, I'd say that would not necessarily be the best balance for two full-BAB classes with same utility potential (via same amount of skill points). In the current balance, I would suspect that a cleric-buffed fighter might beat a self-buffed cleric, depending a little on levels and which turn feats and builds we're accounting for. There's only two buffs you can cast on yourself only; Divine Power and Divine Favor. These wouldn't overcome the other advantages of fighter. And should the cleric come out the victor, it's only due to the limited turn feats and round/level self-buffs.

But either way, I wouldn't be entirely opposed to slightly increasing fighter strength further. It'd just have to be done in a way that is flavorful, helps diversify the builds, and preferrably adds some sort of element of tactics or choice.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 04:26:27 AM by Exordium »

StellarNope

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2018, 06:14:00 AM »
I think you're looking at buffs to those feats the wrong way. If you offer buffs to them you are not making them must-haves for every fighter. I have not built my character with them in mind before and I wouldn't try to steer my current guy towards it later. Maybe on a future character, but I digress.

The feats as they stand now don't encourage build diversity, as they cost too much and come too late. All the other possible fighter-centric builds begin to come into their own around half the level that this does and to greater potential. I made such a character as my first PC on this server, building him towards shield parry a short time before the latest hak launched. I thought it had a lot of potential both mechanically and flavor-wise to be able to create a defensive-focused warrior who wasn't walking around in 105 pounds of armor and tower shield. The first few levels were rough but then it started to click around 5-6, and now it is awesome.

The feats as they stand now force the fighter to gimp himself for over double that period to even begin to scratch the surface and by that point all the buff-capable classes are already providing similar or far greater bonuses, and not just short-term. There are times when PCs will go out on expeditions to dangerous areas but will try to keep the party size small, manageable. If it comes down purely to what characters A and B bring to the table then the Cha-based buff fighter is going to get left out in the cold. In a close-knit group this won't matter as much, as you've built up a rapport. In an ad hoc group, though? You're less likely to get picked, and ad-hoc groups are often a way to get to know your fellow PCs in ways you otherwise might not and it sucks to get the door slammed on your foot.

I consider feat options like this to be like character archetypes. So long as all of them are good you will have the diversity you seek. But if you make one bad then someone will just go with a different archetype, or roll up a class that accomplishes their idea better.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 06:18:23 AM by StellarNope »

Exordium

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2018, 06:33:10 AM »
The feats as they stand now don't encourage build diversity, as they cost too much and come too late. All the other possible fighter-centric builds begin to come into their own around half the level that this does and to greater potential.
You're mainly having the same feats and close-to same stats when aiming for the charisma feats. Instead of 16/12/14/10/14/10 with your skills being antagonize, concentration, discipline, tumble, parry, you might have 16/12/12/10/14/12 with your skills being antagonize, discipline, influence, tumble, parry..

So, in PvE at level 12, you're mechanically speaking exchanging 12 HP for minor AB and damage buffs.

The feats as they stand now force the fighter to gimp himself for over double that period to even begin to scratch the surface
With all due respect, I think you're exaggerating here. Taking 12 charisma and influence is definitely not gimping yourself.

And I reiterate; these feats are not meant for every fighter to take. Even without these feats, it'd be totally valid - and not gimping yourself - to grab 12 charisma and influence as a fighter if those were part of your character concept. The difference isn't that huge in practice.

by that point all the buff-capable classes are already providing similar or far greater bonuses, and not just short-term.
Yes, fighter indeed isn't a buffer, and it isn't our intention to make them that either. Notice that the fighter cha feats stack with the likes of Bless or Aid, so you're only adding on top of the other buffs, not being replaced by them.

then the Cha-based buff fighter is going to get left out in the cold. In a close-knit group this won't matter as much, as you've built up a rapport. In an ad hoc group, though? You're less likely to get picked, and ad-hoc groups are often a way to get to know your fellow PCs in ways you otherwise might not and it sucks to get the door slammed on your foot.
Not having say, heal as a skill and having 12 HP less than the other fighter is very unlikely to have you left out. Your party buff feats are way more useful than that.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 06:36:12 AM by Exordium »

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2018, 09:35:26 AM »
Maybe fighters just need a bump in skill points? They do kinda get the short end of the stick for a class that spends more of their life in training.

MAB77

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 09:51:14 AM »
What they lack in skills they make up with numerous bonus feats. Each classes have their perks and cons.

Playing a fighter myself, I do realize that on my own I am not as efficient as some of the other classes, but what matters on a RP server is what a character brings to a party. A buffed fighter can still strike harder and more often than most buffed clerics of a same level. Still has better HPs and usually make a better tank than a cleric, whom thus freed from tanking duty can devote more time to keep the party alive.

Those charisma feats are nothing short of amazing. Team up with a bard and a cleric and you'll make a fearsome trio indeed.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 09:53:19 AM by MAB77 »
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Iridni Ren

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2018, 09:53:37 AM »
There are times when PCs will go out on expeditions to dangerous areas but will try to keep the party size small, manageable. If it comes down purely to what characters A and B bring to the table then the Cha-based buff fighter is going to get left out in the cold. In a close-knit group this won't matter as much, as you've built up a rapport. In an ad hoc group, though? You're less likely to get picked, and ad-hoc groups are often a way to get to know your fellow PCs in ways you otherwise might not and it sucks to get the door slammed on your foot.

Of course I've not played with everyone on the server, but in my experience, this isn't really something to worry about. Players tend to want to play with those they know already and are comfortable with, but other than that, I see people wanting a couple of front liners, a rogue type, and someone to buff everybody. In more than a year I've never seen anyone get very fine-tuned with build questions in forming an ad hoc party. Sometimes I don't even know the level of all those in an ad hoc group.

In fact, two nights ago we wound up with three clerics in the party because of my thinking one was a fighter and one was a rogue (Trickery Domain, multiclass as it turned out).

I'd always much rather go with someone who cooperates, plays smart, is a good RPer, etc.--regardless of which feats she might have.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 09:55:24 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: Fighter charisma/influence feats and class skill
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 11:59:57 AM »
Charisma Fighter flavor can be added in many ways without the need for these feats. There are plenty of multi-class oppourtunities and in-game strategies, and let’s not forget herbalism and other crafting abilities which can be included in anyone’s role play. The prestige class application process also seems to be another option for those players with enough influence and a “flavorful” enough backstory.  Having additional class specific buffs added for a fighter with charisma shouldn’t be a priority, all things considered.