HERO base class, a design experiement

Homebrew and House Rules

So here is the first draft of a class I have been considering for some time. Here are the design goals:

1) Make a martial class that is simple for beginners.
2) Eliminate all "permanent" choices that are normally a part of leveling up. Nodoby wants to make a bad choice and regret it for the rest of their career. Feats that all characters gain are still present, but I can't change that.
3) Provide a variety of options at all levels.
4) Make all class features occur at intervals of 3 levels. Intervals of 2 and 4 levels has been done enough.
5) Attempt to get rid of the glaring weaknesses inherant to many martial classes.

The uninspired name of the class is HERO. Terrible, I know. It is yet another class with a point pool, because I like them (and I think thwy are easy for beginners). I'm not sure how well the number of points each "exploit" costs weights against the total number of points available, and wether the level the exploit is gained is appropriate or not.

Anyhow, have at it.

That bad, huh? ;)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sounds like a neat challenge.

I'll see what I can do.



It's a good start. Certainly a far cry better than a Fighter [though that's not necessarily saying much.]

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My keyboard was acting up.

The Inquisitor might be good inspiration. It has a lot of abilities that improve every 3 levels: judgments, spells, bonus Teamwork Feats.

Maybe a point-based judgment-like ability? Teamwork feats already are mutable.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maybe a Villain mechanic where you are good against 1 specific creature each level. It can change when you vanquish it, and at higher levels, affect minions. Sort of like a super-focused ranger.

He's already written something up, the link is where he wrote HERO.

Regarding this class...

I suspect this class, while forgiving, is still going to be a bit much to take in for a beginner. Specifically, the stuff you grant with Exploits are great, but the list gets long and they all scale. It'll be quite the character sheet for a beginning player.

In my experience with beginners, they tend to forget all the things they can do. If there's a shared resource, they'll tend to spam one or two thing they've learned how to work over and over. Give them a list of 17 different things, and they'll probably get all glassy eyed.

Also, there's some convoluted hoops for a few abilities. Try reading Skilled out loud to someone, or even to yourself. It's trying very hard to include the Heroic bonus stat, but makes it a bit of a confusing read.
Having a ton of abilities run on 1 minute increment, especially when you have a pool of points to fuel them, can be a headache mid-adventure too.


I think that what I'd do if I were trying to make a class like this, is make things more simple and a bit more blanketed or automatic.
Note: These are just suggestions on a different way to look at doing these abilities. Just trying to come at in a different angle.

Heroic Quality & Battle Ready are good as is.

Skilled: I'd leave out the part where one has to be part of the Heroic Quality choice. If they are pumping Charisma, they'll already have incentive to pick a Charisma based class skill.
After that, I'd just say "pick one of your class skills each day after training, it gains a +1 to +7 scaling insight bonus", so to speak.
Simpler, and since you can change it each day, you don't have to wait a level to fix a mistake. It makes you pretty good on a moment's notice if needed.

Combat Trick: I'd make this a 1st level ability, that includes an additional "train for an hour each day and re-choose a number of combat feats; you do not need to meet ability score requirements for these feats".
This means, each day you can tailor your combat with new feats, and mid-combat still stunt a single additional feat for a minute.
Maybe tie in the number of times you can stunt a feat to your Heroic Quality stat (like 1 + heroic bonus times per day, 1 minute per use).
Not only is this the most forgiving, it lets beginners play around with feats and chains to figure out what works.

Signature Armament: To make this easier and more open, just give a +2 bonus at each stage, where you can divide it up amongst however many weapons and armor you wish. Maximum is half your class level (limits getting a +10 weapon to 20th level).
This means you can have your double weapon at +1/+1 immediately on getting this ability. And at 4th level, you'd be able to pick up a random mundane weapon and make it a +2 in a pinch.

Stances: I'd add a stance ability to give a blanket bonus to combat. +2 at 4th, +4 at 10th, and +6 at 16th.
Defensive stance boosts AC and Saves. Offensive stance boosts attack and damage. Balanced stance gives half boost to all (AC, Saves, attack and damage).
At all times, you'd apply half the bonus as an inherent bonus to strength, dexterity and constitution, as well as your heroic quality choice.

Exploits: At 1st, 7th, 13th, and 19th, I'd place choice abilities from your list that can be performed using pool points.
I'd make them a bit more simple though:
Healing - Spend points to heal a number of hitpoints equal to your class level x heroic bonus. This can be done as an immediate reaction in response to taking damage.
Hero's Luck - Spend points to reroll any roll (skill, saving throw, etc).
Skill Mastery - Spend points and you can take 10 in your class skills even while distracted, lasts 1 minute.
Leaping Step - Spend points to move your speed as your 5' step.


It'd still have pool points and such, but it moves a number of benefits to an "always on" option, and gives more play-room for things like feat chains and such.

Before I begin, I'll admit, didn't take one look at the class, but here's some pointers I've noted from bringing beginners into any game:

Duration abilities are balanced in that they grant bonuses to PC characteristics, and lots of people can relate to them since they've usually got some other game experience under their belt, whether thats WoW, Elder Scrolls, or w/e. However, limit the number of abilities they can use at any one time, and often times make it so that the ability doesn't become overbearing to keep track of. Something along the lines of: use three times per day, lasts for 5 minutes. This usually means three encounters, use it and forget it. Simple for beginners to grasp.

Toggle abilities are also easy for beginners. Much akin to duration abilities, only these aren't as impacting to gameplay. Things like Power Attack and Combat Reflexes are toggle, either they're on and they're working, or they're off and their not. No duration, no hassle. But another variant (and mind you I just made this up on the fly) is: "Sweeping Style: Player can either choose to gain +2 to CMB on trip attempts forever, or +2 bonus on CMD vs trip attempts forever. Choose which at the beginning of an encounter." Again, no duration, its either one or the other.

Lastly, static enhancements. Small boosts picked up along the leveling journey that enhance a characters capabilities. Stat growth, bonus to attack rolls, bonus to damage, bonus to skill checks, or increase in HP, these abilities require little to no thought, they're always active, and always a part of the character sheet.

Obviously these ideas are incredibly dumbed down for experienced players, but until a fresh newbie can pick up the basics, these are a few things that can make a player feel like their character is advancing, while still giving them some options on what they're building.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I re-read the OP, and the link. This seems like a really fun class!

Full BAB, all good saves, and 4+ skill points per level seems a bit over powered, but for a newbie, this is probably OK. Highly exploitable by dippers and experienced players, though.

But paladins get Cha to all saves, and 2 good saves, so this is roughly equivalent.

The one thing I would suggest is for those exploits like Double Attack and Triple Attack, just remove the penalties to attack. It makes it easier and probably doesn't need a "two-weapon fighting-like" penalty since you're spending a resource. Kind of like haste.

It's not overpowered. Not in the slightest.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Probably not. It's like a paladin/ranger hybrid, which is cool.

I'm back from my trip to DC, and uploaded the newest version of the PDF.

I made many changes to the Exploits. Many have been simplified. I hope it is enough. Some moved to a different level. Some were removed entirely to make room for new ones that provide greater diversity.

It was pointed pointed out that Skilled failed to achieve one of my goals. It was modified so that the character can change the specialized skill easily, in addition to other minor changes.

I know there isn't much interest here, but one final bump before it is relegated to Paizo's threads of homebrew past.

The full-BAB, three good saves, and 4+ skill points is pretty good, but as far as the actual class features go, 1st level is very light. A handful of points to use on some low-powered abilities. The class feature would not go far for a dipper. The skill base skill list is pretty tame too. Anyhow, that was my rationale to "balance" it.

The list of exploits is indeed long, and a player may very well favor certain ones. There are not 17 exploits as Kaisoku pointed out - it actually gets up to 28. There were originally only 3 per group but it was bumped up to 4 to provide variety. I wanted to address things like offense, defense, skills, mobility, saving throws, as well as special attacks. I imagine a new player playing with the exploits readily at hand, not all written down. They arrive in groups every three levels, so I (perhaps foolishly) imagine a player will look forward to gaining some new tricks. Also, I decided against letting the player select new exploits while leveling, to provide variety at level 1 and to avoid the possible pitfall of making bad choices.

The Skilled and Signature Armament features are fairly streamlined now I think. They could theoretically be changed every day, but only if the character spends the entire day retraining.

Battle Ready is a feature I have never devoted much thought to. It was simple from the get-go. Many classes have more than one feature at 2nd level, so I wanted to do the same. It is a reasonable perk with varying potency depending on how heavily the hero invests in her heroic ability score, and it affects rolls that will not have ongoing benefit through out a battle.

Combat Trick is the one feature I could easily leave as is, or simply dump and not replace. I originally had an ability like this as an exploit, but I didn't want it to be used to gain half a dozen feats durring the course of a battle. So this one was invented to take its place. The character will have a choose-as-needed feat, but never more than one at a time.

The capstone feature, Destiny, is fairly tame. The first half is more thematic than mechanical. The last bit that reduces the cost of exploits is almost moot because by 20th level she should have plenty of points to burn.

Looked it over and overall it's pretty solid.

My initial impression was: "Add armor training, change the name to 'Fighter' and you have a Fighter with 80% less suck. (the last 20% can only be removed with magic)"

Skilled at first looks like it should be a Rogue thing, but they'd be hard pressed to find 8 skills that aren't class skills already. Add to this the class only gets 4 skill points, and it doesn't really step on on the Rogue's skill niche (if you want to believe it actually exists) too much.

Combat trick is nice, but it still requires you to light feats on fire for prerequisites. Short of having it waive all prerequisites, fixing that really sacrifices simplicity. (word it to ignore feats that are prerequisites, but not other prerequisites, and this would be excellent)

As for the Exploits:

Athletic Feat is awkward with the climb and swim speeds since movements are in 5 foot increments in the game. Better if they just got a climb/swim speed equal to their movement for 1 round. If you really insist on incorporating the Hero Bonus, add it to the jump check.

Skill Competence is just ... "can only be used on a skill check that represents a span of time of about one minute or less"? Is that supposed to mean "any skill check other than daily/weekly income (perform, profession, and crafting) and crafting checks"? I really don't get the time limiter on this one.

Add in Armor Training (lower ACP and higher max Dex fit well here) and then make this the Un-Fighter and relegate the CRB Fighter to an NPC Officer class. I mean you've pretty much given it the equivalent of everything else the Fighter gets.

Thank you for the solid advice. I made the following changes based on your sugegstions:

Skilled has been changed so that the player gains two new class skills at 2nd, but no longer gains additonal new class skill after that. My original idea was that the skill list starts pretty short, and the player can branch out from there. But in practice, once you get to a certain level, your skills you stick to are pretty much set. After that, new class skills are of limited value. My had no intent to step on a real skill monkey's toes, but rather that a player is always going to want to be good at something, and hopefully even something aside from killing monsters.

Combat Trick is gone. No big loss.

Athletic Feat has been changed to a flat climb or swim speed of 10 ft, +5 ft per 5 ranks in the skill. A hero that only ever invests a few points still gets a 10 ft movement speed, but those who invest many points eventually get a nice return on the skill.

The time restriction has been removed from Skill Competence.

I have not added Armor Training or anything like it, but the 3rd level ability provides a means to make armor better.


Speaking of which, Signature Armament has been renamed to Signature Equipment, and rewritten so that in addition to weapons, armor, and shield, she can gain a bonus to things like saves, skills, etc. Can someone please take a look and provide feedback on this ability? Its new and I would like some objectivity.

The changes look good. Nothing stands out as problematic.

I do think you were too quick to drop Combat Trick. I really did like it, but I may have been unclear in my critique.

My problem was that it required you to have all the prerequisite feats of a given feat (needing Dodge and Mobility before you can select Spring Attack). The simplest way to say those requirements could be ignored involves referring to them as "prerequisite feats". This is easily confused with "feat prerequisites". The difficult in fixing this was in the wording - making it simple and unambiguous.

Combat Trick wrote:
Combat Trick: Beginning at 4th level, as a move action, a hero can choose one combat feat she qualifies for (except for having prerequisite feats) and gain it's benefit until combat ends or for 1 minute (whichever is longer). When she uses this ability, she must wait 1 hour until she can use it again.
Combat Trick wrote:
Combat Trick: Beginning at 4th level, as a move action, a hero can choose one combat feat and gain it's benefit until combat ends or for 1 minute (whichever is longer). She must still meat the prerequisites of this feat except for any required feats. When she uses this ability, she must wait 1 hour until she can use it again.

I added Combat Trick back in with a small change to your suggestion. I felt the need to reign it in a pinch. :)

Combat Trick: Beginning at 4th level, as a move action, a hero can choose one combat feat she qualifies for and gain its benefit until combat ends or for 1 minute (whichever is longer). For the purpose of qualifying for this feat, she can ignore any single prerequisite that is a feat or minimum ability score. When she uses this ability, she must wait 1 hour until she can use it again

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