Thursday, September 8, 2011

Epic Review - Ultimate Combat Part 2.2 (archetypes)

Wherein I continue the review of the new archetypes in Ultimate Combat. 

With TEN archetypes and new expanded weapon groups there's a lot of new toys for what used to be the most boring class in 3rd edition.

The Armor Master, is truly the master of defense, replacing his weapon mastery with increased defensive abilities, a deflection bonus to AC while using a shield, increased damage resistance which scales with level, up to 12/- at 19th level while wearing heavy armor. He gains fortification, up to moderate fortification, at 13th level. The capstone grants complete immunity to criticals and sneak attacks, similar to the 3.5 heavy fortification.

The Brawler  is a very interesting archetype. Granting bonuses to bull rush, drag, and reposition maneuvers (though it does not grant the improved versions) and defenses. At 3rd level the get a nice +1TH/+3 dmg with close weapons, this includes the new scizore a 1d10 dmg close weapon; this increases up to +3/+7 at 19th. It also includes spiked armor, which would make for an extremely effective grappler. They also are very threatening to opponents, and at 9th level making it hard to escape their threatened squares without injury. 

The Cad is the just that, a dirty fighter, using dirty tactics and the dirty fighting maneuver. They only gain proficiency in light armor and normal shields. They also gain access to some additional class skills (acrobatics, bluff, escape artist, sleight of hand and stealth). They make an interesting alternate thug class. The Razor Sharp Chair Leg feat from beta returns as an alternate fighter ability for the Cad. 

The Dragoon is a mounted fighter that is the master of the spear and lance. They gain Mounted Combat and Skill Focus (ride) at first level in lieu of the standard bonus fighter feat. Instead of weapon mastery they gain bonuses with the spear group. which gains +1TH/+2DMG up to +4/+8 at 17th level; devastating on a critical, charge or brace. They also gain the banner ability as a cavalier, which replaces weapon training 2-4.

The Gladiator is designed for the new Combat Performance rules. There's not much benefit if you're not using those rules. 

The Tactician is the skilled fighter, gaining 4+int/level and several class skills (Diplomacy, Knowledge (geography/nobility), Linguistics, and Sense Motive) for the cost of heavy armor, tower shields AND their bonus feat. It's too much taxation for those abilities. That kills the entire archetype for me. It should be one or the other, but that's effectively 3 feats lost. 

Thunderstriker is pure gain, at the cost of armor training, they can use a buckler and a two handed weapon at the same time. Even using two weapon fighting! Combine this with the Shield Mastery feats and you're creating a monster. 

Tower Shield Specialist; horrible name, good archetype. For ultimate defense behind the iron wall, replacing bravery allows the TWS to hide behind his shield even against "burst" spells. Eventually the TWS, gains a shield bonus to touch attacks, no attack penalties while using a tower shield evasion, and improved evasion.

Unarmed Fighter This is it, the non-monk hand fighter, a hybrid of the monk and fighter classes, able t use light armor, and all monk weapons. They gain Improved Unarmed Strike AND a non-prerequisite style feat instead of the normal bonus feat at first.  That's pretty tough. The Unarmed fighter doesn't get access to ki, or the monks other abilities, but he does get a bunch of niche maneuver abilities, which can make his quite dangerous in close. Sucker Punch is fun, get in close to an opponent denied Dex (say from being grappled), and the Unarmed Fighter gets a free trip or dirty fighter maneuver as a swift action. Talk about a fun magekiller.

Unbreakable is kind of a bit of an oxymoron, getting two feats for 1 at first, Die Hard and Endurance in lieu of the Fighter Bonus Feat. An improvement over bravery, as it affects all mind affecting saves rather than just fear. He gains Heroic Recovery and Heroic Defiance as he levels, and eventually will become inmmune to mind affecting affects. (This will be nice for BBEGs!!!)

Stay Tuned for the Gunslinger, Inquisitor and Magus Archetype EPIC coverage next.