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Meeki
12-31-2008, 11:08 AM
WARNING: HUGE first post that might be scary.

Well, I know I am new but I am going to drag over a demon of a discussion that exists on various other D&D forums; mainly the WoTC ones and some EN world discussions. From reading the posts on this site I feel that this community would be fairer to any martial controller ideas. EN Worlders can be rather harsh and WoTC forums are well.. yea..

Back on topic; The current lack of controller options with only 3 established power sources have spurred much discussion about an idea about a martial controller. Especially since divine and primal controllers are already in the works.

I have been slowly working on a martial controller, sticking to the design theme that the primary attack stats are physical and generally weapons are used as damage dice.

Since really there is only one fully complete controller I took some ideas from the Wizard, attempting to define a controller, and applied them to this new class without simply cloning arcane into martial attacks.

What I came up with was a short range heavy or light thrown weapon focused martial controller that relies on movement, status effects, and a few stances to control the battle field. Obvious issues I had were attempting to control opponents with weapons and keeping the design different enough from the wizard as well as the "control" ranger.

Instead of posting the class and spending forever formatting I'll just talk about the design ideas and I offer an excel spread sheet for anyone that might be interested. I do need assistance in creating the class and would like to know if anyone would like to collaborate or just critique the class? Of course if I knew how to format correctly, or if someone would like to format the class for me or tell me how, I would be grateful.

I call the class simply "Skirmisher" and gave him two builds. One focuses on movement of the skirmisher as well as enemies and the other focuses on status impairing attacks. On top of the build a skirmisher has the option of focusing on STR or DEX as a primary attack stat, using heavy thrown weapons/spears or light thrown weapons. Each build has attacks to support both STR and DEX based powers.

The major difference from the wizard is the use of stances that generally hinder a type of action or impart penalties, and interrupts. I felt that since this class has less range than a wizard and needs to be close to the enemy that interrupts would allow the skirmisher to fulfill the theme of "hindering the enemy before it strikes" type theme that I think is common in the wizard and other controller previews.

Does anyone have any ideas for martial controllers? Or any opinions about what it means to be martial or a controller?

Does anyone care to see the start of my class and help collaborate or critique?

Grimwell
12-31-2008, 02:16 PM
I'd love to see more. I really think that 4E can be incredibly flexible to new class ideas, and think that a martial controller is a solid one that should be explored.

Please post as much as you can here in the forums. People here are pretty good about chiming in with relevant commentary and being helpful. I think this would be a great conversation for those of us who like 4E and tinkering with systems!

Meeki
12-31-2008, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the response Grimwell, I'll try to post up something readable.

Intro (Excuse me for lack of flavor text)


Skirmisher

Class Traits

Roll: Controller
Power Source: Martial
Key Abilities: Str, Dex, Int

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Hide, Light Shield
Weapon Proficiencies: Spears, Heavy Thrown, Light Thrown
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fort, +1 Reflex

Hit Points at 1st Level: <TBA>
Hit Points per Level gained: <TBA>
Healing Surges per Day: <TBA>

Trained Skills: History (int). From the class skill list below, choose three more trained skills at 1st level.

Acrobatics (dex), Athletics (str), Heal (wis), History (int), Perception (wis) ... more?

Class Features: Skirmisher Tactics, Mobility, Quick Draw


Skirmisher Class Features

Quick Draw - As the Feat.

Mobility - As the Feat.

Skirmisher Tactics - A skirmisher can choose to focus on one of two tactical styles, either Harrying Tactics or Fleeting Tactics. Each tactic provides a benefit given below and may provide bonuses to certain skirmisher powers, as detailed in those powers.

Harrying Tactics
Your fighting style focuses on hampering your opponents ability to defend itself, move around the battle field, or strike at allies. Gain the Harrying Blows encounter power.


Harrying Blows Skirmisher Class Feature
Encounter Martial
Free Action
Effect: Until the end of your turn all creatures hit by any of your attacks suffer a pentalty to hit you or your allies equal to your intelligence modifier. This penalty lasts until the end of your next turn.

Fleeting Tactics
Your fighting style focuses on movement of yourself and your opponent, forcing enemies to move by force. Gain the Fleeting Blows encounter power.


Fleeting Blows Skirmisher Class Feature
Encounter Martial
Free Action
Effect: Until the end of your turn you may shift 1 square for every creature hit by any of your attacks to a maximum of 1 square per Intelligence modifier. In addition for every square you shift you gain +1 AC until the end of your next turn.


Level 1 At-Will Attacks


Hail of Stone Skirmisher Attack 1

At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Ranged Weapon, Ranged Burst 1
Requirements: Heavy Thrown or Light Thrown
Target: One Creature
Attack: Dex or Str vs AC
Hit: 1[w] + Dex or Str

Weathering Force Skirmisher Attack 1

At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Str vs AC
Hit: 1[w] + Str and the target suffers -2 to AC, Fort, or Ref until the end of its next turn.

Dancing Wind Skirmisher Attack 1

At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Close Blast 3
Effect: Before the attack shift 1 square
Target: All enemies in blast.
Attack: Str or Dex -2 vs AC
Hit: 1[w]+ Str or Dex
Miss: If you miss all targets shift 1 square.

Shearing Toss Skirmisher Attack 1

At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Range 20
Special: Weilding a ranged weapon.
Target: One Creature
Attack: Dex vs AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dex


Level 1 Encounter Attacks


Biting Gale Skirmisher Attack 1

Encounter Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Ranged Weapon or Melee Weapon
Target: Three Adjacent Creatures
Attack: Str/Dex vs AC
Hit: 1[w]+Str or Dex+ Int

Binding Stone Skirmisher Attack 1 (Fleeting)

Encounter Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Str vs Fort
Hit: 1[w] + Str. Target is immobilized (save ends).
Effect: Shift 1 square.
Fleeting Tactics: Instead of shifting 1 square, shift a number of squares equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Whiplash Skirmisher Attack 1 (Harrying)

Encounter Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Ranged Weapon
Special: Heavy Thrown or Light Thrown
Target: One creature.
Attack: Dex vs Will
Hit: 1[w] + Dex. Target cannot take Attacks of Opportunity until the end of your next turn.
Harrying Tactics: On a hit target is also marked by you until the end of your next turn.


Level 1 Daily Attacks

Torrent Skirmisher Attack 1

Encounter Martial, Stance
Standard Action
Effect: While in this stance, enemies within a number of squares equal to half your Intelligence modifier cannot shift. They must move as normal.

Riving Winds Skirmisher Attack 1

Encounter Martial, Stance
Standard Action
Effect: While in this stance, all of your attacks that hit cause a single enemy target per attack to suffer a penalty to AC equal to half of your Intelligence modifier (save ends)

Buffeting Strikes Skirmisher Attack 1

Encounter Martial, Weapon, Reliable
Standard Action Ranged Weapon or Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Str or Dex vs Fort
Hit: 1[w] + Str or Dex, Target is knocked prone and is slowed (save ends)
Effect: Target suffers a -2 penalty to hit until the end of your next turn.



Level 2 Utilities

Updraft Skirmisher Utility 2

Encounter Martial
Immediate Reaction Personal
Trigger: An enemy misses you with a melee attack.
Effect: Shift a number of squares equal to your intelligence modifier.

Shifting Winds Skirmisher Utility 2

Daily Martial, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You flank an enemy as long as you are adjacent to an ally who can attack the same enemy. Allies adjacent to you flank any enemies you can attack.

Ebbing Tempo Skirmisher Utility 2

Encounter Martial
Minor Action Personal
Effect: Gain a bonus to your Armor Class equal to your intelligence modifier until the end of next turn.


Level 3 Encounter Attacks

Stop Thrust Skirmisher Attack 3

Encounter Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt Melee or Heavy Thrown
Trigger: An enemy shifts or moves.
Target: Enemy that triggers attack.
Attack: Str vs AC
Hit: 1[w] + Str. Target is immobilized until the end of its current turn. Push the target 1 square.

<NA> Skirmisher Attack 3

Encounter Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt Ranged Weapon
Special Light Thrown Weapon
Trigger: An enemy attacks an ally that does not include yourself.
Target: Enemy that triggers attack.
Attack: Dex vs Fort
Hit: 1[w] + Dex. Target is blinded until the end of its current turn.

<NA> Skirmisher Attack 3
Encounter Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction Melee Weapon
Trigger: An enemy that is flanking you deals damage to you.
Target: Enemy that triggered and one additional enemy that is flanking you.
Attack: Str vs AC
Hit: Str mod damage. Push the target 1 square.
Effect: Shift 1 square.

Kalanth
12-31-2008, 05:54 PM
I have not broken open your boxes just yet, but what I would think in terms of a martial controller would be along the lines of the swashbuckler. A great deal of motion in him and his attacks bite and annoy but also get his opponent moving about the field of battle unwittingly. It just feels right to me to mesh those two ideas together.

Grimwell
12-31-2008, 06:00 PM
I just did a quick read through for a first blush pass on it. I think you have sound ideas going, and are on the right track. There are a few nits I might like to pick, but I want to defer that until I have some time to crack open the core books and do some comparisons.

For me, it's important that coming up with new options for classes is done within the same balance structure as the core ones. I'm not suggesting that you are out of balance, but I do want to explain why I can't give you more feedback off the cuff. I want to look at other abilities and check the power scale on them to see if you are in line with them, etc. That's where my deeper feedback will focus. :)

Tomorrow, when I wake up... tonight is about to get started. ;)

Valdar
12-31-2008, 08:24 PM
Yes, there have been a lot of objections to a martial controller, but I think that if Warlord exists, they are for the most part moot.

I'd suggest you change the class name. "Skirmisher" is an NPC type, and it's confusing enough with "Controller" meaning one thing for PCs and something completely different for NPCs...

Also, why History as a mandatory trained skill? Curious-

Other than that, looks good- you'll want to playtest it to see if it balances ok. Try a few encounter sets with a few different parties of 5, with Wizard in one group as the "control" group (no pun intended), and swap the Wizard out with your Skirmisher and play the exact combats again, and see how it stands up.

Apart from that, good work!

darthseb
12-31-2008, 10:00 PM
Also, why History as a mandatory trained skill? Curious-

Perhaps he's trying for the 'martial' equivalent of a controller skill. Like Arcana, but martial.

Meeki
01-01-2009, 01:14 AM
I was not sure what to put as a trained skill, and since Int is a secondary skill I figured History might make sense since they utilized tactics that can be seen as stemming from military history. I could easily change it to acrobatics or something more physical, just though History might make for a different flavor.

I would like to change the name, Skirmisher is just a stand in for now.

Design wise I tried to give the class powers with some comparison to the Wizard while keeping in mind the restrictions of "reality" in regards to wielding weaponry instead of magic. For instance, my level three encounters are all interrupts, reacting to different situations. Since the skirmisher will have a shorter range I wanted to allow him to strike enemies before being stricken and still maintain control over a large part of the field. I haven't posted them but I will get around to it in the morning, have to install excel.

The powers need careful review as I tried to make them deviate far enough from the wizard that they have their own flavor. I tried to allow for a skirmisher to be either fleeting or harrying tactics and be able to choose between dex or str.

@Kalanth: I though of creating a swashbuckler type class as a controller, but I ran out of ideas on how to make melee controller like and still retain a sense of .... "fantasy logic".

Grimwell
01-01-2009, 03:04 AM
More hedging of a late night fashion...

I think you are going to have to deviate heavily from the wizard plan. Wizards attempt to control the battlefield from a distance. What you are making is going to have to get right up and in there and physically put enemies where they are wanted.

That difference in position creates a great opportunity to take the idea of what a wizard is doing and put it to use in a totally new way.

Matt
01-01-2009, 07:18 PM
First off, appologies if it's a stupid question; despite owning the 4e core three since their release I still haven't played a game. Now, onto the question! The Harrying Blows ability says that it's effect lasts until the end of your turn, how useful is this going to be in a fight?

Meeki
01-01-2009, 07:31 PM
The ability to apply the penalty to hit lasts until the end of your turn. The actual penalty itself lasts until the end of your next turn.

So you use a free action to use this power, attack something with a power and apply the penalty. At the end of your turn the ability to apply the penalty expires however the penalty itself lasts until the end of your next turn. This will not only effect the creature's attacks on its turn but all opportunity attacks as well.

Also, sorry for not posting the other powers I haven't been able to find my office disc to install excel.

Grimwell once I post some of the lvl 3 powers I think you will start to see a differentiation from the wizard. As far as the 1st level powers I tried to make them different enough from the wizard but did not want to stray so far that it would be hard to compare powers. I tried to start to deviate with the dailies offering a stance that does not do damage but inhibit actions or apply penalties.

Maelstrom
01-02-2009, 02:55 AM
This definitely sounds promising. I'd like to see more.

Out of curiosity, is there a reason you have a lot of your penalties apply until the end of your next turn, rather than use the default penalty definition in which it lasts until the end of the affected creature's turn? Is that how the Wizard does it? Seems like that would make it a little more difficult to keep track of (player's responsibility to end the effect)

This was a pretty good read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skirmisher

I like the reference to light infantry and the Celts.

Meeki
01-02-2009, 07:39 AM
You know I looked into that exact design issue. I was unsure when to end penalties and read through a few classes. I believe many penalties end at the end of the "users" turn. Additionally I find it much more "controller"-y to have a penalty last until the end of the controllers turn for 2 main reasons.

1. Change the way the monsters acts on its turn, knowing that it will have to suffer the penalty for a full round. For instance a penalty to AC might cause the creature to rethink positioning itself close to some melee, even though it has a close blast attack. Rather it might stay further away using a different attack. If it ended on the creatures turn then the skirmisher's best tactic would have to be delay until just after the creature and then penalize it, which, IMO, is against the intent of a controller.

2. I wanted the penalties, especially ones to hit, to allow more strategic options for allies. If a monster has a penalty to hit then allies can move around the monster with more confidence, since OA will be penalized.

Thanks for the link I'll take a look into it.

Kalanth
01-02-2009, 08:08 AM
I agree with your reasoning but I think that might also be a bit powerful in that sense as well. There are those moments when fighting against a group of monsters that will allow the enemy additional movements. A fine example is the Goblin Hexer and his Inspire Bravery power which allows an ally to shift and then take a basic attack. That monster is in effect getting this penalty twice in the round, which is fully possible with the power ending after the monsters normal turn, but that would occur a lot more often if the power was to end on the players turn.

A fair balance between the two with an eventual increase in the "at the end of the targets turn" comming later in levels feels more appropriate to me. Shows improvement in their abilities that way as well.

Meeki
01-02-2009, 08:37 AM
Why would a goblin hexer do that if his ally has a penalty?

I don't agree that ending at the end of the targets turn and pumping up the duration in later levels would make the powers "balanced". As is the skirmisher has to be a lot closer to the targets and is usually attacking AC. While weapons add proficiency bonuses, AC is still usually higher, sometimes by more than 2 or 3 points. I would rather keep the penalty the same duration and reduce damage.

I don't have my book with me but I believe the Wizard's ray of frost incurs a penalty (slow) to the end of the wizard's next turn. I can see changing Harry Blows, since it is a class power, to the end of the target's turn but it only effects 1 creature. Normal powers I don't agree, until I see comparison otherwise. (besides at-wills)

The At-will power, Weathering Force's penalty ends at the end of the targets turn. The dailies that impart penalties I don't really see why they would need to end at the end of the target's turn. They are dailies and do minimal or 0 damage.

What, precisely are you commenting on? The class encounter power?
--- Merged from Double Post ---
**Updated with level 2 Utilities and level 3 Encounters**

Kalanth
01-02-2009, 08:47 AM
Why would a goblin hexer do that if his ally has a penalty?

There are moments when they might not have many other options, like being the last two alive. Or taking advantage of a near dead player it is well worth the risk even with a penalty. :)


What, precisely are you commenting on? The class encounter power?

Yes, it was related to the level one encounter power. I mean, it is in no way game breaking to leave it as is, it just feels a tad stronger than other encounters at that level. But I am in the same boat as you, and don't have my books with me right now.

Meeki
01-02-2009, 08:53 AM
Are you talking about whiplash? Anyone know if Dazing Strike rogue attack is level 1 or 3? Also what damage does it do?

I looked up Dazing Strike through devious means. I altered the power Whiplash to deny attacks of opportunity until the end of the skirmishers next turn. That should shore up some of the power issues, since daze is really powerful, and I didn't want to just clone the rogue's power.

**Also, updated up to level 3 encounters**

Meeki
01-05-2009, 07:43 AM
Aw, don't let this thread die! Did anyone look at the level 3 powers or have suggestions for hp/healing surges?

Grimwell
01-05-2009, 11:14 PM
I'm not done with it yet. I'm just doing the homework slowly as I tend to everything else I have to do. : )

Meeki
01-06-2009, 07:32 AM
Not a problem, I just didn't want the thread to sink into the abyss. Especially since there were some great responses from you and Kalanth (who dissappeared)

Grimwell
01-28-2009, 10:45 PM
I apologize for not responding in so long, but life and work can make people busy so I'll leave it at that and get to some feedback. :O)


T
Hail of Stone Skirmisher Attack 1
At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Ranged Weapon, Ranged Burst 1
Requirements: Heavy Thrown or Light Thrown
Target: One Creature
Attack: Dex or Str vs AC
Hit: 1[w] + Dex or Str

My only question on this is why it is a burst attack? The target is just one creature, and I don't see a lasting effect in the area of the burst so there is no reason for it to 'burst' lacking further detail.


Weathering Force Skirmisher Attack 1
At-Will Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Melee Weapon
Target: One Creature
Attack: Str vs AC
Hit: 1[w] + Str and the target suffers -2 to AC, Fort, or Ref until the end of its next turn.

I'm torn on the hit for this. Leaving the penalty until the end of the targets next turn means it could happen in the same round. Having it last until the end of the attacker's next turn makes it last a round. You could have good reason and I'm missing it, but I wanted to make note.



Biting Gale Skirmisher Attack 1
Encounter Martial, Weapon
Standard Action Ranged Weapon or Melee Weapon
Target: Three Adjacent Creatures
Attack: Str/Dex vs AC
Hit: 1[w]+Str or Dex+ Int

I don't understand the hit. 1[w] + STR is pretty common. Why are you going with DEX + INT as an alternate? It should pan out to less damage potential, offering the trade off of fixed damage every time, is that the goal?



Shifting Winds Skirmisher Utility 2
Daily Martial, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You flank an enemy as long as you are adjacent to an ally who can attack the same enemy. Allies adjacent to you flank any enemies you can attack.

This stance might be a bit too powerful. In my eyes it's the "Oh yeah I'm going to choose that one!" power. Hell, I'd love this on my Warlord. Since a stance can last 5 minutes, this power is rendering all enemies the martial controller can get next to vulerable to all kinds of combat advantage with no way to opt out. Pair this with a Rogue and it's just constant damage spikes with no valleys. It's too good. I want it!

Perhaps offer enemies a save each time someone tries to use the advantage granted by this against them?

Beyond this, you have a few L1 abilities listed as stances. Fighters don't get stances until they get to Level 2, and this breaks that and puts utilities next to exploits. Technically this looks like it breaks the flow of combat abilities and when to grant them though I didn't think they really looked game breaking.

Plus, you listed them as daily powers... which isn't so bad. It's a trade for damage, etc. Plus, if a martial controller uses one of their L2 stances, the L1 daily cancels out by the rules. So it's not game breaking, just an unusual positioning for that kind of power. Which might be a point of flavor.

All in all though, I think you are on to something. This class isn't about power and massive damage, it's about restricting movement and making some targets more vulnerable. It's a good match for the controller idea in my mind. A few tweaks here and there? Sure. Nothing horror show though!

kirksmithicus
01-29-2009, 12:47 AM
I have not had time to read over everything adequately yet and probably won't since it's 12:45 at the moment. But my initial impressions are that as this class is a long ranged martial character. "Peltast" would be a good name to use especially if the Javelin is the primary weapon, but I'm sure there are other applicable names as well. My current 4e character build is a warlord/ranger multi-class because I wanted the ranger +1d6 damage per encounter feat. In order to combine it with my javelin attack, so it'll do some freaking damage! This would be an awesome alternative to that if you can get it all worked out.

Valdar
01-29-2009, 12:21 PM
Also, have you signed up for DDI? There are the first three levels of two new controllers (Druid and Invoker) posted- you can check those out to see if there are new ideas as to how Controllers can be built creatively.

Meeki
01-29-2009, 02:17 PM
I have yet to see the druid and have skimmed the invoker, I should take a closer look at that. From what I saw of the invoker I was not enthused about the class.. I just shrugged my shoulders and went "meh" some powers are too powerful, some are weak. The concept just didn't interest me and while I read it all I could think of was "cop-out". The druid, on the other hand, sounds promising from what I have read.

@kirk: This class is more medium ranage, with a few long range and melee abilities tossed in.

@Grimwell: Hail of stone has a typo, it should say all creatuers in burst. It's just a burst 1 attack.

Weathering force has the penalty lasting until the creatures next turn so that it was not TOO powerful and wouldn't allow you (skirmisher) to gain the benefit of it next turn. So I didnt want to be able to reduce it's armor until the end of the skirmisher's turn and then have the skirmisher use the penalty on it's next turn. I could say until the start of the skirmisher's next turn; however that doesn't seem to be where effects end. Not saying I can't do that.

Biting Gale: Another typo should say + (Str or Dex) + Int. It's str+int or dex+int.

Shifting wind MAY be too powerful. I might drop the last part, just allowing you to flank enemies when adjacent to an ally. It is only level 2. As for gaining stances early on, I see no issues with this. I think it represents a controller"y" type aspect. This guy isn't a fighter, basically. I wanted to represent Zone control but centered on the skirmisher. Stances seemed to do this best without getting all wordy with the zone power.

I'll try to fix everything asap at work atm.

Grimwell
02-03-2009, 01:13 PM
How's progress? I'm curious how this is evolving!

Meeki
02-06-2009, 12:55 PM
Sorry haven't had much time! The class is in an excel file and I need to reinstall excel at home. Had to format again :( I'll try this weekend.

On another note, PHII comes out this year!

Dimthar
02-07-2009, 09:06 PM
Since a lot of powers have a "Cinematic Origin". I guess it would be a good idea for the "Martial Controller" to use a "2-handed" weapon with "Threatening reach" and in his "Wide Swings" affect >1 targets.

I don't know... I was thinking in "NEO fighting all those "Mr. Smiths" in the second movie.