Next up on the how-to-build Pathfinder Characters in Eclipse list is a relatively simple one; the Fighter.
The Pathfinder Fighter added a few abilities and applied the usual Pathfinder adjustment to their skills, but otherwise didn’t change anything – so all that needs to be done here is to add up the costs of the new abilities and find the points to pay for them. As usual, the costs are the totals as of level twenty; Eclipse Fighter-themed characters can, of course, buy their abilities in pretty much any order, build them up gradually, or substitute other abilities to suit themselves.
Those new abilities are:
Bravery: This provides a +10 to will saves made to resist Fear effects. That’s Resist, +10 versus mental effects, Specialized in Fear Effects (7 CP).
Armor Training: This provides -4 reduction on Armor Check penalty and a +4 to the maximum allowable dexterity modifier as well as being able to move at full speed despite wearing medium or heavy armor. That’s Immunity/armor and shield penalties (Very Common, Minor, Minor [to negate up to four points of penalties], Specialized/only versus Armor Penalties to skills and effective dexterity modifier) (4 CP) and Celerity/+10 to ground movement speed, Specialized, only to counteract movement penalties for armor (3 CP).
Weapon Training: Provides a +(Level/4) bonus to Attacks and Damage with a particular type of weapon. Each time this bonus increases, a new weapon type may be added at a cumulative -1.
This, of course, is simply one of the innumerable variants of “Favored Enemy”; in Eclipse, for example, a Beastmaster might want bonuses on skills used in locating, training, and managing particular types of animals. A Diplomats may want to take favored cultures and gain bonuses on related Diplomacy and Knowledge checks, Scholars can favor particular periods or cultures, Thieves can favor particular cities, and so on. That’s (6 CP).
Of course, one reason why such bonuses are cheap is because they don’t come into play all that often – and the game master controls when they do. The Fighter, on the other hand, will use his favored weapons as often as he possibly can. That calls for a special-permission item: Immunity to the usual restrictions on “Favored Enemy”. That’s going to be “Very Common”, Minor, Major (to cover a maximum bonus of +6), Specialized/only provides bonuses to Attack and Damage with the favored weapons, rather than also covering – say – evaluating, making and repairing, and providing an armor class bonus while wielding, such weapons. That’s another (6 CP).
A character who wants to keep up the progression through medium and high epic levels will have to spend a few more points. On the other hand, that’s appropriate enough; allowing the bonus to continue indefinitely would soon enough lead to situations where the Fighter only misses on a “1”, and everyone else only hits on a “20”. That’s not ideal either.
Armor Mastery: This provides DR 5/- while the character is wearing armor. That’s Damage Reduction 5/- Specialized/physical damage only, Corrupted/only while wearing armor or using a shield (4 CP).
Weapon Mastery: This provides a +1 critical multiplier with a specific type of weapon, automatic confirmation of criticals with that weapon, and immunity to being disarmed while wielding such a weapon. That’s Improved Critical/the Lethal option (6 CP), Immunity/the need to confirm criticals (Very Common, Major, Major, Corrupted/only works with a particular type of weapon) (10 CP). That might be considered Specialized, but a character with this ability will – of course – use his or her chosen weapon as often as possible. Finally, we have the Immunity to being Disarmed (Common, Major, Major, Specialized/only a particular type of weapon) (4 CP).
That middle power – the Immunity to needing to roll to confirm criticals – one is, once again, a special-permission item, as immunity to game rules always is. On the other hand, for a similar price you could get a couple of automatic rerolls to try to confirm criticals, which would be more bothersome, but would have much the same effect.
It also results in the rather strange result that – at some point – any time the character hits a high armor class opponent, it will be an automatic critical hit. That’s why the “automatic critical hit on a 20” system fell out of favor some decades ago. Ah well. At least it works better as a special power than as a general system.
In any case, all of that comes to a total of 50 CP.
On the credit side, a Pathfinder-style Fighter can drop six skill points at level one. That’s (-6 CP).
That still leaves our Eclipse character needing to find forty-four character points.
Unfortunately, the trouble with the Pathfinder Fighter is exactly the same as the trouble with the fighter in 3.0 and 3.5.
Wizards and Sorcerers command a wide variety of occult powers, and can use them to handle all kinds of situations, even if they do fight rather poorly.
Clerics and Druids fight fairly well, and have a variety of magical powers to use to handle other situations.
The Rogue fights fairly well, has many skills, and has a few special abilities.
Bards don’t have quite as many skills as the Rogue, and fight fairly poorly, but they possess a variety of occult powers to use.
Rangers fight well, and possess various special powers.
Paladins and Monks fight well and possess many special powers.
Barbarians fight well, and possess enhanced speed. inhuman surges of strength, and a variety of other minor talents.
The Fighter does little or nothing but fight.
Now that’s just fine in a typical d20 game, which spends a great deal of time focused on combat. In games like that, the underlying deficiency may never be noticed at all. Being marginally better at combat than less-specialized characters seems to balance out nicely.
Unfortunately, if the game happens to wind up revolving around intrigue, or detective work, or scouting out an enemy position, or politics, or any of a wide variety of other non-combat situations, for a few weeks… well, most of the other characters have abilities to use – but the Fighter may well have nothing to do at all.
That’s why the basic fighter, uniquely among the core classes, came out with quite a few points – fifty-three in fact – left over in Eclipse, and was invited to spend those points on making sure that they had some abilities of use in non-combat situations.
The Pathfinder Fighter has spent most of those left-over points – but hasn’t really made the jump to being an advanced class. They’re as useless out of combat as ever, which is one reason why they still have nine character points left over even without the use of Fast Learner.
Personally, my recommendation is still pretty much the same, although now it’s for building a genuinely advanced character. Take Fast Learner, Specialize it in something – perhaps hit dice – and spend the extra forty-three points that will leave available on some non-combat abilities, or inherent magic, or some other abilities designed to give your fighter-type some flexibility.