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ronpyatt
12-10-2006, 01:07 AM
I wanted to create a D&D class that had no BAB progression. My first 2 attempts freaked out a couple D&D players. I know that in all classes that I've seen in D&D, BAB is a core element of a character class. Even the Wizard has a BAB. However, I like the idea of playing a character that would find little need for BAB.

fmitchell
12-10-2006, 12:57 PM
First off, you'll have to give the class a token BAB, maybe based on the Wizard. That's just how d20 works.

Then you'll have to design character abilities which a) benefit the entire party without requiring the character to attack, and b) make the character interesting to play.

Recently I read a mediocre PDF which added "mythic archetypes" to d20. Maybe the less combat-oriented archetypes, notably the Oracle and the Maiden, will yield some useful ideas:

The new class could have spell-like abilities, e.g. "augury", "true seeing", or various healing spells, N times per day or based on some sort of spell points. If the class is a more efficient "healing battery" than a Cleric, with some oracular abilities, its lack of combat effectiveness might not be so bad. Other abilities to consider are "psychic" powers to read and cloud minds (think The Shadow, or "hold"/"charm" spells), or summoning critters to do the fighting.

The Maiden archetype can, with another player's permission, swap places with a stronger character who can defend her. Since you titled this thread the Bastion, we could reverse this: the character has high AC and/or Saving Throws, and can interpose himself between any other character and his/her attacker, taking the brunt of the blow. (The Armiger from Iron Heroes has this ability, or a similar one ... too lazy to look it up.)

Similarly, if the Maiden is helpless, unconscious, or dying, all characters get bonuses to their "Action Dice" (based on d20 Action Points). You could add a morale bonus to all the character's allies instead. Or maybe the circumstances are less dire: a "leader" type might inspire a morale or tactical bonus just by his presence, as long as he's still conscious and out of the fray.

The new class could have bonuses to non-combat skills, particularly social or knowledge skills. In our Midnight campaign, one character has an insanely high Diplomacy, which even after the DM's patch to Diplomacy still makes him an asset as long as he can speak to potential enemies.

Alternatively, the class could roll an extra die and add the result for all skill checks, to represent a Jack of Trades ability. The type of die would escalate based on level: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 ...

Grimwell
12-10-2006, 10:29 PM
You could do it, but you are creating a character class that totally walks away from martial training. Not even fisticuffs...

The compensation would have to be huge (so they have something to do every round) without going too far (or they will out feature the other classes with spell like abilities...)

Then the question of "Is it playable?" would have to be asked.

Farcaster
12-11-2006, 09:17 AM
Perhaps you could create a class with a strict moral code prohibitting physical violence? Perhaps a magic wielding or psionic class that deals only subdual damage. If the character is going to be in combat at all, they are going to need something -- that's just the nature of D&D itself. You could base the BAB off the commoner NPC class, which I am pretty sure is the same as a wizard.

Grimwell
12-11-2006, 09:59 AM
That answer immediately deviates from his plan to go without BAB though... OGL D&D is open enough to tweaking that he should be able to actually hit his goal.

Think about the deity 'Eldath' from the Forgotten Realms. In 2E (when I last saw her) she was all about non-violence. Maybe her priests get a special class entirely instead of being normal clerics. No BAB at all, but spell like abilities to do all kinds of things (An ability that relies on the diplomacy skill to change aggression levels, shielding (damage reduction) powers to avoid damage, extra healing, etc.).

Farcaster
12-11-2006, 10:10 AM
Hmmm..

If you're going to take out a BAB though, shouldn't you also be eliminating any hitpoint progression as well? BAB and HP increases both represent an increased skill in combat. Hitpoints basically represent an ability to avoid damage, so if the character has no combat expertise at all, their hitpoints should be limited to 1 hit die (emphasis on the die part if the character should get in any sort of combat).

My hangup would be that in a straight up fist fight, a commoner with a couple NPC levels is going to whip his entire ass up and down the street.

Grimwell
12-11-2006, 11:46 AM
Well, we are talking about fantasy worlds, couldn't there be someone expressly forbidden from even training in the modes of attack, but proficient in defense and avoidance? Then you don't get BAB progression, but HP's are still there...

fmitchell
12-12-2006, 09:22 AM
Well, we are talking about fantasy worlds, couldn't there be someone expressly forbidden from even training in the modes of attack, but proficient in defense and avoidance? Then you don't get BAB progression, but HP's are still there...

Or maybe he has a BAB progression that applies only to "nonviolent" attacks: trips, throws, disarms, touch attacks to use non-damaging spell powers. (In d20 those are all touch attacks, correct?) That way, he could defend himself more actively, but not actually inflict damage. Although maybe that's not your intent.

(Actually, I've thought of this for an NPC who's meant to be a magical "patron" of the characters: she's got more than enough unarmed combat skill and supernatural power to make fools of the characters, but she's forbidden by the Cosmic Balance from interfering directly in mortal affairs ... which includes punching their lights out. There's a character like this in the "Chronicles of Prydain" by Lloyd Alexander; in the last book it's revealed that, with all his knowledge and magical power, he's forbidden from harming another human being.)

ronpyatt
12-18-2006, 07:45 PM
Yes, it would seem very odd to a D&D player to have someone in the party that has a +0 to hit at 10th level. It would be nice to have a feat that could be taken to give a class a +1 to hit every now and then. So, by 20th level, maybe the Bastion could have a +3 to hit!

BAB should not affect HP unless it is assumed offensive training is required for defensive growth. Actually, as I understand hit points, HP represents more than just combat prowess. It's luck and experience, and a mechanic that allows characters to get more power and take more damage from bigger things.
Funny thing is spellcasters get better at casting spells and better at combat. Pure fighters, however, only get better at combat, and casting spells is pretty much out of reach (without a class modification or special feats.) This leads to the conclusion that there are no pure spellcasters in D&D.

That aside, I simply wanted a BAB-less character to play. There have been countless characters that I've played that have never struck back with their fist, bow, or melee weapon. Spells, of course, are very effective. Then there is that spell, True Strike, that can work in a pinch.

So, remove BAB and in it's place include an extra feat at every level. Well, I'm not sure if it would be that easy, but playing it would be easy.