Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fighter Training - "Patience, Young Grasshopper."

Its been another dangerous slog in some underground hell hole. Your blade is covered in dirt and gore, your arms ache from hauling back more gold then your father ever saw in his lifetime. The wizard slinks off to lose himself in forgotten tomes and your friends want you to come drinking with them.

You decline. Those fools can sink their coin in cheap booze and brief pleasure, but you know that death dances on the edge of your sword. Your failure could easily mean their demise. Instead, you find a place of tranquility to steel yourself and hone your ability. One day you will know your weapon like your own hand, but in till then, you train.

"Patience, Young Grasshopper" is intended for games that employ a system like carousing. A fighter may forgo the additional experience points (and humorous mishaps) gained through celebration to instead benefit (or occasionally suffer) via dedicated practice.

A fighter (Or any character that fits, subject to DM approval) may attempt to benefit from PYG whenever the party spends a significant amount of time (At least a day or so) in a civilized or safe area where the warrior may practice unperturbed. At that time the Fighter's player may make a d20 roll. If the roll is underneath their current level, then the training is without significant event. If the result is equal to, or exceeds their level, then the fighter gains an epiphany. However, if the die roll is an 18, 19 or 20 the fighter is instead saddled with a dire portent.

A career adventurer's martial skill will increase regardless of consistent (or lack of) quiet, dedicated practice. What is sought through this training are moments of reflection or insight that will save the fighter at a crucial point. Once an epiphany is attained, it may be exhausted at any time to do one of the following;

- Re-roll a failed attack or saving throw
- Ensure a single attack will do maximum damage (must be declared before the attack is rolled)
- Attempt to pull off some crazy combat stunt without penalty, such as throwing a sword at an enemy (subject to GM judgement)
- Grant the PC a final action before falling/dying (must be spent at the moment of death)

When spending an epiphany, the character recalls or reflects on a single, poignant moment of their training. Perhaps they recall a moth fluttering dangerously close to a flame but never touching it, or how their spear managed to strike between raindrops. Role-playing this is certainly encouraged, but declaring it and moving on is always an option.

Conversely, a dire portent is terrible indeed. Occasionally one's training will lead to overly critical self-analysis, embarrassing injuries or unwanted attention. If the PC is unfortunate enough to incur such a penalty, the DM should take note. At any time, they may reveal and exhaust the dire portent and enforce one of the following;

- The Warrior's weapon has a fault in it and breaks at the worst moment. A magical weapon's enchantments will temporarily falter.
- Doubt has infested the warrior's mind, and will not be thrown from it easily. The GM may force the PC to re-roll a successful saving throw.
- A foe notices a repetitive pattern in the PC's form, and utilizes it - allowing them to re-roll a single missed attack.
- A particularly powerful rival spotted the PC's kata and is interested in testing their skill. This rival should be an NPC of the warrior stock who is 1d4 levels higher then the PC.

The character may only have a single epiphany or dire portent at one time. They may not attempt PYG again in till whichever they have has been exhausted.

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