Not to derail the derail, but if Mordred sticks with the 2 weapon fighter archetype, using a heavy shield would be swinging at a -2/-2 at level 11 since the archetype gets "Improved Balance" at that point.
Improved Balance (Ex)
At 11th level, the attack penalties for fighting with two weapons are reduced by –1 for a two-weapon warrior. Alternatively, he may use a one-handed weapon in his off-hand, treating it as if it were a light weapon with the normal light weapon penalties.
This ability replaces Armor Training 3.
Spent too much time researching and Thistledown beat me to it, but at least you're not alone in your interpretation Praetorian.
Pistol-Whip (Ex): At 3rd level, the gunslinger can make a surprise melee attack with the butt or handle of her firearm as a standard action. When she does, she is considered to be proficient with the firearm as a melee weapon and gains a bonus on the attack and damage rolls equal to the enhancement bonus of the firearm. The damage dealt by the pistol-whip is of the bludgeoning type, and is determined by the size of the firearm. One-handed firearms deal 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if wielded by Small creatures) and two-handed firearms deal 1d10 points of damage (1d8 if wielded by Small creatures). Regardless of the gunslinger’s size, the critical multiplier of this attack is 20/×2. If the attack hits, the gunslinger can make a combat maneuver check to knock the target prone as a free action. Performing this deed costs 1 grit point.
Based on the entry in on the gunslinger page on the SRD, you could rule that it would be an improvised weapon. Bolded part of the entry in the spoiler for emphasis, but it states when doing a pistol-whip, the gunslinger is considered proficient using the gun in melee.
Let's look at it from another angle. Can't find it on the SRD, but in the Core Rulebook on page 145 it states what happens when using arrows as a melee weapon instead of ranged.
An arrow used as a melee weapon is treated as a light improvised weapon (-4 penalty on attack rolls) and deals damage as a dagger of its size (critical multiplier x2). Arrows come in a leather quiver that holds 20 arrows.
Bayonets allow you to make melee attacks with these weapons but render them temporarily useless as ranged weapons.
Bayonet states that it allows you to make melee attacks with certain ranged weapons but renders them useless for range.
Based off these 3 points, you are correct that he would incur a -4 penalty for improvised weapons.
I can't remember where I read it, but isn't there a rule that specific wording in an ability overrules general? That could be a basis on needing a grit point for not incurring a improvised penalty as well.
Otherwise, compromise and rule it doing non-lethal for not using a grit point. That way, hopefully, everybody is happy.
From what I understand.
With DD, you make one roll. The more complicated the lock, the longer it takes hence it taking 2d4 rounds. IIRC, each round is 6 seconds so a difficult lock would take 12 to 48 seconds as apposed to 6 seconds or less for a simple one.
With stealth, you roll your stealth check to hide and move silently. Opponents have to roll a perception check equal to or higher than your stealth. Any less and they don't notice you. It does require some form of cover or special ability to do it. You can't really just walk through the middle of an empty room and expect not to be seen. Would be nice if you could though.
The fighter can make 2 attacks with his weapon, whether it be a one handed longsword or using two hands to swing a greatsword. Think of it as increased combat prowess/training allowing a quicker swing for more slashes at once.
Two weapon fighting would allow him a third attack with his off-hand (assuming wielding two weapons) with all the penalties that apply.
To take it a step further, doing the attacks at +7/+2 is a FULL ROUND action. A full round consists of a move, standard and a swift action. To move up to the enemy would allow only one swing but if next round he was still next to an enemy, he could swing his sword twice. Also has the option of taking a free 5 ft step on his turn in order to do a full round action.
Hope this helps and doesn't cause further confusion.
Based off your previous statement, which I put as a spoiler to prevent a massive response (bolded the main part for easy distinction), you could have a failure chance for casters. Something as simple as 100 minus Spell Level times 5 percent chance of success thus 0 level spells would be 100% (100-0x5) but a 9th level spell would have a 65% (100-9x5) chance of working simply from how much magic is needed to cast it (assuming the bigger the spell, the more power it takes to use it).
The Dark Sun setting of 4e did have an inherent character development chart as well that might help you get some ideas since that setting was based on arcane magic being feared and almost non-existent. Never got to play the previous editions of it, so unsure if they had something similar early on.
Tim Hunt 103 wrote:
Spell levels can be referred to as spell slots. A 1st level spell uses a 1st level spell slot except for when metamagic feats alter the spell, such as Empower (+2 spell level) which causes a 1st level spell to occupy a 3rd level spell slot.
Caster level refers to how powerful of a caster you are and is different from character level (total of all class levels).
For example, lets say your rogue/wizard is 4 levels Rogue and 3 levels Wizard and casts Magic Missile, a first level spell. You would cast 2 missiles for 1d4+1 because your caster level is 3 while your character level is 7 thereby making you unable to cast the four missiles allotted to caster level 7.
Hope this helps and isn't too wordy.