Friday, April 19, 2013

A Gladiator of Athas

I actually started playing in a game a couple weeks back, and we had our first "real" session last weekend.

It's Trailblazer, a sort of DND 3.75E that takes a different tack than Pathfinder. It tones things down, as opposed to Pathfinder's "taking it to 11", and simplifies more than a few things. On top of that, we're playing under the E6 rules.

We're doing this through Skype and Roll20; one person in the U.S Pacific Time Zone, another in Central, and the last at UTC+1 hours - in Germany. We're shorthanded - this is the old college gaming group, and as I've complained before, we're having hard times carving out the necessary time. This is a good start though - if we keep going I hope to have more buy-in as they see the fun they're missing.

Anyway.

We're in a slightly re-imagined Dark Sun - completely familiar and compatible, it's just some story/background changes to a few Sorcerer Kings (not sure how much, I'm not familiar with Dark Sun canon anymore)

Since time is a premium, we're starting off at 6th level, and as E6 runs, we'll be gaining XP to gain feats. Since E6 runs a little on the old-school side, I thought it'd be interesting to show my character as is, then create his mirror-universe ACKS equivalent. I'll do some sporadic notes throughout.

I don't remember much about Dark Sun, and only knew a minimum to begin with, so I'll just present a minimal backstory as is without commentary as to what might not be canon.

I'm an ex-gladiator (Fighter), released from the pits by Hammanu himself for the prowess and honor I showed in battle, now able to roam Urik as a freeman, and, indeed, train with Hammanu himself in his 'dojo'. I run with a Whisper Gnome (whose tribe lives in the undercity of Urik at Hammanu's discretion) I befriended shortly after freedom, who, as a matter of supporting his people, takes interest in the happenings of the surface city. I, myself, am a proud, free citizen of Urik.

BEHOLD! Kan Kaleus, The Scorpion, The Sting of Urik!

Name cribbed up from the cadence of the names of the peoples of Barsoom; Dark Sun being a reskinned Burrough's Mars.

E6 Trailblazer

Fighter 6

STR   16  (+3)
DEX   15  (+2)
CON   17  (+3)
INT   13  (+1)
WIS   10  (+0)
CHA    8  (-1)

ACKS

Fighter 6

STR   16  (+2)
DEX   15  (+1)
CON   17  (+2)
INT   13  (+1)
WIS   10  (+0)
CHA    8  (-1)
Yes, these are good scores. This was a high point buy - it is Dark Sun, and, that's how our DM rolls. Numbers are all relative - if I'm dumb, I'll die no matter my scores.

FORTITUDE: +8

REFLEX:    +7

WILL:      +2

INITIATIVE: +2


PETRIF. & PARA: 12+
POISON & DEATH: 11+
BLAST & BREATH: 13+
STAFFS & WAND:  13+
SPELLS:         14+

INITIATIVE:     +2 
Fun fact: My initiative bonus is better in ACKS than in TB-E6. Why? A +2 on a d20 roll is only a 10% bonus, a +2 on a D6 is a 33% bonus.
BASE ATK: +6 (+4/+4)

MELEE ATK: +9 (+7/+7)

RANGE ATK: +8 (+6/+6)

COMBAT MANEUVER: +9

COMBAT DEFENSE:22/21(f)
ATTACK THROW: 7+

MELEE THROW: 5+

RANGE THROW: 6+
One of the great things Trailblazer does is get rid of the +0/-5/-10/-15 BAB iterative attack progression, in favor of giving just two attacks at level 6 at -2/-2, then -1/-1 and +0/+0 at 11 and 16 respectively. This speeds up combat, and increases your effectiveness, as most of the time the -10/-15 attacks were throwaway anyway. Combat Maneuver/Defense is part of the streamlining of Trip/Disarm/etc., Pathfinder did the same thing.

The BAB of +6 converts to an Attack Throw of 5+ in ACKS, conversely, the 7+ converts to BAB +4. ACK's Armor Classes are much more limited than 3.5E, however. The ACKS character would meet the TB character in BAB at level 8.



MAX HP: 60+18

AVG HP: 33+18

ARMOR CLASS: 18
       FLAT: 15
      TOUCH: 13

(10, +2 Dex, +1 Dodge,
  +4 Armor, +1 Shield)
MAX HP: 48+12

AVG HP: 27+12

ARMOR CLASS: 5
 FS: Shield: 6



(0, +1 Dex, +2 Armor
  +1 Shield, +1 Swshbkl)
The TB Character is wearing "Light Caravan Armor", +4, from athas.org's Equipment PDF. The build of the character is a quick-on-his-feet piercing weapon expert, and in ACKS we'll be wearing leather, to take Swashbuckling. We'll take Fighting Style: Weapon and Shield, and we'll be able to increase our AC by one when fighting that way.


COMBAT REACTIONS (2/rnd)

AID ATTACK: +2
(aid ally's attack)
DODGE: +3 AC
(before attack rolled)
BLOCK: DR/4
(before attack rolled)
AOO: as Trailblazer
COMBAT REACTIONS:

CLEAVE: 6 per Round


Trailblazer takes AOOs, ends the practice of getting an AOO vs a target for closing in, and adds "Combat Reactions", little things you can do to aid an ally or brace yourself before an incoming attack, that you can do with the same "action pool" as AOOs.

I put ACK's Cleave here, as it's the only real equivalent. I'd have to spend two feats (Cleave + Great Cleave) to get that ability in Trailblazer/3.5.
ATTACKS:
  (AOO: +4, +2d6 dmg)

SPEAR: +10, 1d8+6 (x3)
  (FULL ATK: +8/+8)

SPEAR + SPIKED SHIELD:
  SPEAR: +8, 1d8+6 (x3)
  SHIELD: +8, 1d4+6 (x2)
 (FULL ATK: +6/+6/+6s)
ATTACKS:

SPEAR: 5+, 1d6+5

The TB character has taken several feats to be able to wield a polearm two-handed and be able to wield and bash with his shield. That's the "Scorpion" part. In ACKS, we don't have that, and I'm not seeing anything at a glance that would prevent me from wielding a spear with one hand and a shield in the other.
FEATS:

H0: Endurance
F1: Imp. Shield Bash
C1: Weapon Focus
       (Piercing)
F2: Combat Expertise
C3: Short Haft
F4: Wpn Specialization
       (Piercing)
F6: Dodge
C6: Shield and Pike
    Style

TB3: Expert Wpn Prof
     Spear: Reach

SKILLS:

ACROBATICS:+ 8
CLIMB:     +10
HEAL:      + 5
INTIMIDATE:+ 8
JUMP:      +12
RIDE:      + 8
SENSE MOTV:+ 6


PROFICIENCIES:

C1: FS: Weapon & Shield
G1: Swashbuckling
I1: Acrobatics
C3: Endurance
G5: Combat Reflexes 
C6: FS: Single Weapon


So there's that. Not too bad. The feats and skills are the vegetables of the 3.5 stew, so, here's how they fell out:


F1: Imp. Shield Bash
C3: Short Haft
C6: Shield and Pike
    Style

TB3: Expert Wpn Prof
     Spear: Reach
No Mapping
I've spent 2 feats and a Trailblazer Fighter Expert Proficiency on being able to take a swift action to switch a polearm between 5' and 10' reach, or a free action for a regular spear.  In ACKS, there's no real distinction - I can 'attack from the second rank', or in regular melee combat. I'm losing a bit of damage in ACKS as the TB build is allowing me to use both hands on the spear.

That's all just because I want to hold 'The Scorpion' as my gladiator nome de plume. The things you do for flavor.

There are no multiple attacks in ACKS, so there's  no need for an Improved Shield Bash option. Interestingly, this is a clean argument for using the same damage die for all weapons (or per class) - if I'm doing a d6 no matter what I'm swinging, I can poke with my spear or bash with my shield with no change in my roll, just to add flavor or detail to my combat, without adding any mechanics or entries on a character sheet.

C1: Weapon Focus
     (Piercing)
F2: Combat Expertise

C1: FS: Weapon & Shield
C6: FS: Single Weapon
The mapping for Weapon Focus is obvious, but, Combat Expertise? The two Fighting Style proficiencies are allowing me each round to change from a +1 to hit or a +1 to AC, which in lieu of any special defensive maneuvering added to ACKS, is the only way to emulate that.
F6: Dodge
ACROBATICS: + 8
INTIMIDATE: + 8
JUMP:       +12
SENSE MOTV: + 6

I1: Acrobatics
G1: Swashbuckling
G5: Combat Reflexes


Dodge and those skills are mostly setup for future feats - I'm going through the Combat Expertise->Whirlwind Attack tree as XP piles up. The ACKS proficiencies don't really match up in effect, but at least capture the flavor.

Endurance maps to Endurance. I've taken it as  nod to the fact I have to care about extreme heat in Athas.

Weapon Specialization is completely subsumed by the Fighter's Damage Bonus progression - you can correctly say that ACKS gives every Fighting 2 class Cleave, Great Cleave, and a progressive Weapon Specialization in all weapons.

All in all, it came out pretty well. I could get a more complete mapping by making a custom Gladiator class that would drop one or more armor proficiencies for other powers.

I expect we'll have our first combat this upcoming Sunday, and I'll have another character to convert :)


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