Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Labyrinth Lord Fighter - Updated!

One of my players, RF, in my CotMA game pointed out that there's little reason to play a fighter in Labyrinth Lord.  They are inferior to nearly every class based upon their experience point table and their class abilities.

I haven't done the work of comparing fighters to clerics, paladins, rangers, monks, etc., but I trust RF when he tells me things.  :)

I think fighters SHOULD be a relevant class -- one that is PRIMARY to the play of my game.

With that in mind, I did a little modification that HAS NOT BEEN PLAYTESTED YET, but that will be in my CotMA game very soon.  I'll keep everyone up on the successes and failures of this proposal, as well as any changes made, as time goes along.

So, here you go, the new and improved OSR Fighter!  Special thanks to Al Krombach at Beyond the Black Gate and his list of Old School Feats.  I've used them as the basis for the fighter's advancement/specialization.  No other classes will be selecting Feats at this time.

Get the PDF here

(Based on Labyrinth Lord, p. 15, Advanced Edition Companion)
Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d10
Maximum Level: None

Fighters, as their name implies, are exclusively trained in the arts of combat and war. They are specialists at dealing physical blows. Unlike other classes, fighters are particularly burdened in
a group of adventurers because they are tougher and must take the lead to defend others. Fighters can use any weapons and armor. Beginning at 4th level, a fighter gains additional attacks in melee combat. Additional fractional attacks come in the final round of a series.

Beginning at 3rd level and then at additional levels according to the chart below, the fighter may choose an additional combat-oriented feat. The list of feats was developed by Al Krombach at They are re-printed here (in slightly modified form) for convenience only. No challenge to Al's work or copyright is implied. Special thanks to Al for sharing this list with the OSR.

Reaching 9th Level: At level 9 a fighter may become a great leader, taking control of a parcel of land and a leadership rank in his society. A fighter will, assuming money is at hand, build a castle. He may ultimately control several villages and towns, but must be a good, strong leader and provide protection.

Attacks per Round
Hit Dice (1d10)
+2 hp only *
+4 hp only *
+6 hp only *
+8 hp only *
+10 hp only *
+12 hp only *
+14 hp only *
+16 hp only *
+18 hp only *
+20 hp only *
+22 hp only *
Cleave/Chop when they drop

Choose one more from list

Choose 1

Choose 1

Choose 1

Choose 1

Choose 1

Choose 1

*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored.

Alertness – The characters is unusually alert, and gets a bonus of 1 to the normal chance in six to be surprised, detect traps, or notice secret and concealed doors.
Blind Fighting – The character is able to fight while blind or in total darkness with a penalty of 2 to attack rolls.
Cleave – Upon successfully dispatching an enemy with a melee attack, the character gets an immediate attack against another adversary within reach. (Automatically gained by fighters at 1st level)
Combat Expertise – While in melee combat, the character is allowed to take a penalty of 1 to melee attacks in exchange for a bonus of 1 to armor class.
Combat Expertise, improved – Must have Combat Expertise to take this feat, and can increase the armor class bonus to 2 (while still suffering only a penalty of 1 to attacks).
Dodge – The character is unusually adept at getting out of harm’s way, and gains a bonus of 1 to armor class when wearing light or no armor.
Endurance – The character is unusually hardy, and can heal at twice the normal rate per day, as well as being able to subsist on just half the daily food and water of a normal person for as long as a month.
Fisticuffs - The character is a brawler, +1 to-hit and damage when fighting bare-handed, and automatically knocks out humanoid opponents with a natural roll of “20”. Save applies.
Great Fortitude - The character receives a bonus of 1 to saves against poisons and diseases.
Grenadier – The character has a knack for hurled items such as flaming flasks of oil, acid, holy water, etc, and gains +1 to hit and damage with such items, as well as twice the normal throwing range.
Improved Critical – The character scores a critical hit on a natural roll of 19 or 20. The character must be at least 9th level to take this feat.
Iron Will – The character receives a bonus of 1 to saving throws against charms and compulsions.
Leadership – The character may take on double the normal number of followers allowed by his charisma score, and receives double the maximum number of followers upon achieving “name” level. The character must be at least 5th level to take this feat.
Lightning Reflexes – The character receives a bonus of 1 to saving throws against traps, breath weapons, and targeted spells.
Lucky Bastard – Once per day, the character can reroll a failed saving throw with a +1 bonus.
Mounted Combat – The character receives a +1 bonus to melee attacks made while mounted.
Mounted Archery – The character receives no penalty to ranged attacks made while mounted.
Point Blank Shot – The character receives a bonus of 1 to attacks and damage against targets within thirty feet range.
Power Attack – The character can take a penalty of 1 to melee attacks in exchange for a bonus of 2 to damage inflicted.
Precise Shot – The character can fire into melee combat without risk of hitting an ally.
Quick Draw – The character can pull a weapon or change weapons before initiative is rolled without penalty.
Rapid Reload – The character can reload crossbows and other mechanical ranged weapons at twice the normal rate.
Run – The character can run at 50% greater than normal running speed for up to 2d6 rounds.
Shield Bash – The character, if equipped with a shield, can elect to forgo the armor class benefit (must state the intention to do so before initiative is checked) in exchange for gaining a second attack at -1 to-hit for 1d4 points of damage (plus any strength bonus).
Two-handed Defense – The character, when wielding a two-handed weapon, gains a bonus of 1 to armor class.
Two-weapon Fighting – A character with a minimum Dex of 13 may use a weapon in each hand, provided one is of smaller size. The character so equipped does not receive any additional attacks, but receives a bonus of +1 to melee attacks and damage.
Two-weapon Defense – A character with the Two-weapon fighting feat receives a bonus of +1 to armor class when wielding two weapons.
Weapon Finesse – A character may use his Dex bonus, rather than Str bonus, when fighting with light melee weapons.
Weapon Focus – A character may select one weapon he can normally use to apply a +1 bonus to-hit with. This feat can be taken multiple times, each time for a different weapon.
Weapon Specialization – Fighting men of fourth level or higher may apply this feat to a weapon they have Weapon Focus with and apply a +2 bonus to damage rolls.
Weapon Specialization, Greater – Fighting men of seventh level or higher may apply this feat to a weapon they have specialized in to gain an extra attack with that weapon every other round of combat.
Weapon Mastery – Fighting men of at least ninth level may apply this feat to a weapon they have Greater Weapon Specialization with. The bonus to-hit and damage increases to +3, and they may make two attacks per round.
Will-to-live – The character is entitled to a saving throw vs. death magic to resist attacks that would normally drain one or more levels.


Anonymous said...

I have been playing RPG since 1980 when I was ten. For that whole time people have been complaining that their favorite class is jipped some how. Look at LL not advanced companion or anything else, and you see there is real value in the fighter. Stack him up against the Dwarf for one example. The dwarf is limited in levels, the fighter is not. The Fighter at higher levels can gain multiple attacks, the Dwarf can not. The Dwarf can't even use a battle axe! D8. The fighter can walk around with a D10 two handed sword from the first level. It is all trade offs. The game is always balanced in a very different way, but some players want Santa to bring them everything. I'm not buying it. Don't change the fighter unless you want to muddy up the game. Muddy games are not old school.

Jim said...

@Anonymous -- I appreciate your sentiments. If my player was exceptionally whiny about his fighter; I wouldn't be making any of these changes. Since he's not -- we'll try 'em; if they don't work, well, we'll stop. As to muddying up the game. The thing I like *best* about old school games are house rules. You get to tinker and change and try and tweak... I don't think that muddies things up so much as it embraces the spirit of DIY. :)

Unknown said...

RPG's were MEANT to be tinkered with!