NEPA Known World
A fighter is a character whose main skill is his prowess with arms. A fighter may be a heavily armored knight or a lightly armed swashbuckler but it is his extraordinary skill in combat that makes him special. In the Known World, fighters are the backbone of the world’s armies as well as of most adventuring parties. Fighters can be found among every culture and in every group of society from the poorest beggars to the richest nobles.
Fighters are one of the basic character classes. A full description is available in the Rules Cyclopedia. These rules are summarized here:
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Prime Requisite: A fighter’s prime requisite is Strength. If a fighter has a Strength score of 13-15 or more, the character gains a 5% bonus to experience points earned in every adventure; if his Strength is 16-18, his bonus is 10%.
Hit Dice: Roll an 8-sided die (1d8) to determine a fighter’s hit points. A fighter starts with 1d8 (1-8) hit points (plus Constitution bonus, if any) and gains 1d8 more hit points (plus bonus) with each level of experience. Two additional hit points are gained for each level after 9th level.
Armor: A fighter can wear any kind of armor and may use a shield.
Weapons: A fighter can use any kind of weapon.
Beginning fighters receive no spells or other magical powers. Their great strength, hit points, strong armor, and many weapons make them a powerful character class without additional special abilities. However, they do receive four weapon proficiency slots and may use weapon mastery from level one (but may not have any weapon skill above “Skilled” at 1st level).
At first level, a fighter may use the Lance Attack maneuver and Set Spear vs. Charge maneuver. At higher experience levels, some fighters receive specific special abilities, including Fighter Combat Options and other abilities.
Higher Experience Levels
A fighter with enough money may build himself a home, even a castle, before he reaches 9th experience level. However, this home has no official sanction; even if it is a castle, the character is not a ruler or a nobleman.
When a fighter reaches Name level (9th level), the character is, owing to his great abilities and reputation, addressed as Lord (if male) or Lady (if female). This is status within his community even if it is not a formal title; it is for the DM to decide whether or not it is a formal title bestowed upon the fighter by the nation’s rulers.
At Name level, the fighter will have to decide whether he intends to be a “land-owning fighter” (i.e., a ruler in his own right, and lord of a region of land) or a “traveling fighter” (one who may own homes but not rule land, and has no especially strong responsibilities to the nation’s rulers). Don’t be confused by these names. A land-owning fighter may spend a lot of time traveling and adventuring, and a traveling fighter may spend a lot of his time at home.
There are two ways for a fighter to become a land-owning fighter: independently or in fealty to a greater ruler.
The DM decides on what sort of government is used in his campaign. Assuming that it’s based on medieval Europe, as is the case with many D&D® game campaigns, a nation’s government consists in part of a king and queen ruling a strong court of dukes, counts and barons, each of whom rules a smaller territory or fiefdom.
In order to become a ruler within an existing country, he will have to petition the country’s rulers for a grant of land. If he has already done them great services in the past, they may give it to him immediately and gratefully, but if he is not already their friend or ally, they may send him on a difficult quest so that he can prove himself to them. Once he has been granted the land, he may build his castle upon it (at his own expense). The land may be occupied or not; if it is unoccupied, the prospective ruler had best try to lure settlers there soon, so that his dominion will begin receiving tax revenues.
At the very least, a land-owning fighter within an existing country will be granted the title of Baron (if male) or Baroness (if female), or the equivalent. If he continues to expand his land within the nation’s laws and to make his dominion an increasingly strong and rich one, he may receive greater titles, such as Count/ Countess and Duke/Duchess.
If the fighter wishes to make his dominion in a wilderness which is not within an existing country, he may call himself anything he wants baron, duke, king, emperor. However, be aware that a too-glorious title will make others laugh at him. If he takes a title, it should be appropriate to the size and strength of the dominion he is ruling; he may wish to change his title as it increases in size and prosperity.
If, at 9th level, a fighter does not decide to make a dominion for himself, he chooses to become a traveling fighter (you can use the term even if he really doesn’t do a lot of traveling). Traveling fighters don’t usually have the political power that land-owning fighters do, but they can receive special abilities to help compensate for that. (Note that we said can. They don’t receive these abilities automatically.)
The alignment of a traveling fighter determines special abilities and other characteristics.
A Lawful traveling fighter may be known as a paladin if he meets the following requirements. If he does not meet those requirements, he may become a knight (described below).
- The fighter must swear fealty (an oath of service) to a Lawful clerical order to gain paladin status. The fighter must be of Name level or greater to be accepted by the clerical order. Thereafter, the paladin may be summoned by the order’s leaders at any time, and must do as they command, as long as the service aids the powers of Good.
- A paladin can detect evil (as per the cleric spell) as often as once per round, simply by concentrating. (Range: 120’. The paladin cannot use this ability and attack in the same round.)
- If the paladin’s Wisdom score is 13 or greater, the character can cast cleric spells as if he were a cleric of one-third his actual experience level (round any fraction down); if a fighter becomes a paladin right at 9th level, he’ll immediately gain the spells of a 3rd level cleric. A 17th level paladin can cast spells as if he were a 5th level cleric. If his Wisdom score is 12 or less, the fighter can still be a paladin, but cannot cast spells. The paladin learns how to meditate and cast spells from the clerics of the order. The clerics will refuse an y offer of compensation or payment for this service.
- A paladin can turn undead, as if he were a cleric of one-third his actual experience level (round all fractions down). Therefore, a 6th or 7th level paladin can turn undead with the same ability of a 2nd level cleric.
- A paladin may only travel with a number of hirelings equal to or less than his clerical level. In other words, if he can cast spells or turn undead as a 5th level cleric, he can have five hirelings accompany him.
- A paladin must assist anyone who asks for help-with two exceptions: He does not have to help evil characters or achieve evil goals, and if the paladin is on a mission for a higher authority (such as a quest, serving a duke, etc.), he can offer only a small amount of help (such as sheltering or advising the person in need of aid), along with an explanation for his refusal. Assistance never involves donations of money or items, but only service for a short time.
A Neutral traveling fighter may become a knight. Lawful traveling fighters who do not become paladins, or Chaotic traveling fighters who do not become an avengers (described below) are also able to become knights.
To gain knighthood, a fighter must swear fealty to a prince, king, or emperor. In return, the ruler will declare the character a knight; that ruler then becomes the knight’s “liege.”
In most campaigns, knights are the most common sort of traveling fighters. The following rules apply to knights.
- If summoned by his liege the knight must report to him as quickly as possible, and must serve as the liege orders.
- If the knight ever refuses to obey the liege, or ever swears fealty to any other liege, the knight loses three levels of experience. (The DM may increase this penalty if the offense warrants it.) The previous liege may even order the offender slain for his treachery. In addition, rumors and tales of the “traitorous knight” may haunt the character forever after; the character may find it difficult to find help in places where his reputation is known. If his liege dies, the knight is free to choose another. Additional benefits (lands, money, etc.) may be awarded to knights who swear fealty to the successor of a liege who dies. A knight may petition the liege for a peaceful end to his oath; however rarely granted. The knight would be banished, at the least, and could be stripped of all possessions as well.
- A knight may visit any castle, of any territory, and request sanctuary. The castle owner must, by the customs of the land, give the knight a place to stay for up to three days, along with food and drink. He does not have to be friendly to the knight, but, according to this custom, may not challenge, attack, or refuse sanctuary to the knight. (Note that the knight cannot challenge or attack his host or members of his host’s court or family, either. Should he do so, his sanctuary is at an end, and his host is now free to punish him.) In campaigns modeled after medieval Europe, this custom is nearly universal, but the DM is free to indicate that the custom is not present if his nations are not similar to Europe’s.
- If a call to arms sounds (a call for knights to battle for justice), the knight must respond. This declaration can only be issued by the ruler of a· large town (Mayor) or territory (Archduke or greater status), and the knight need only respond if it sounds in the area through which he is passing or if it is called by his liege. When the call to arms sounds, the knight must immediately travel as fast as possible to the ruling castle of the one who made the call to arms, and fight as ordered by the ruler-within the constraints of any knightly oaths he took in the course of the campaign. (If the ruler who made the call to arms orders him to kill innocents or helpless prisoners, the knight may choose to refuse, but he will make an enemy of that ruler.) The knight is entitled to compensation for this service; the ruler issuing the call to arms must grant the knight a gift appropriate to the value of the knight’s services. (Many rulers will offer the gift out of gratitude; some will not. The knight has the right to demand the gift; he does not have to demand it if he does not wish to). There are two notable exceptions to the custom of the call to arms. In lands where the civilization is very different from medieval Europe, this custom might not be used (in wilderness areas where there are no rulers, it would naturally be unknown). If the knight is within a territory that has declared itself hostile to the knight’s liege, the knight need not respond-if the call to arms is against the land of his liege, he must not respond. In fact, the knight would be in great danger when the call to arms sounds.
A Chaotic traveling fighter may become an avenger if he meets the following requirements. Otherwise, a Chaotic traveling fighter may also become a knight.
- The fighter must make an alliance with a Chaotic clerical order. This is not a swearing an oath of fealty, but a loose agreement of loyalty and support; the order may decline the offer. If the order accepts, the order’s leaders may summon the avenger at any time, and he must do as they command. If he disobeys them, he loses all special abilities and benefits of the avenger. Even then, the fighter may regain avenger status by negotiating with a different order.
- An avenger can detect evil (as the cleric spell) up to once per round, simply by concentrating. (Range: 120’. The avenger may not use this ability and attack in the same round.)
- If the avenger’s Wisdom score is 13 or greater, the avenger can learn to cast cleric spells as if he were a cleric of one-third his actual experience level (round all fractions down). Therefore, a 12th-14th level avenger casts spells as a 4th level cleric. If his Wisdom score is 12 or less, the fighter can still be an avenger, but cannot cast spells. The avenger learns how to meditate and cast spells from the clerics of the order-but at a price (the price is at the DM’s discretion, but a minimum of 10,000gp per clerical spell level gained is recommended).
- An avenger may turn undead as if he were a cleric of one-third his actual experience level, but with an important difference. If the result is “turn” or “destroy,” the avenger may choose to control them instead. If control is chosen, it lasts for 1 turn per level of the avenger-thus, a 17th level avenger could control them for 17 turns. Undead thus controlled behave as if charmed, obeying the avenger as if they were friends. However, if the undead are turned or destroyed by a cleric during the duration of the control, the control is dispelled immediately, and cannot be renewed. If the duration of the control ends without incident, the undead will flee (as if turned).
- An avenger may not have human or demi-human hirelings. However, the avenger may try to persuade monsters of Chaotic alignment to become his hirelings. If a Chaotic creature is not immediately hostile, the avenger may offer food or treasure, indicating (through word or gestures) friendship. If this fails, threats or combat resulting in surrender may accomplish nearly the same result. If the creature’s Reaction roll indicates friendship, the creature is persuaded to follow and obey the avenger. The effect lasts for a duration identical to a charm magic-user spell; once it ends, it cannot be renewed. The avenger may have the number of Chaotic monster hirelings that his Charisma score allows for; once he loses one, he may try to persuade another.
- An avenger may visit any castle, ruin, or dungeon known to be ruled by an intelligent Chaotic monster or character and, using his alignment tongue, demand Sanctuary (see knight, above). An avenger may pretend to be a knight and request Sanctuary of other rulers; if he deceives the ruler (and is not tripped up by some alignment-revealing magic), the ruler will provide him with normal Sanctuary.
Changing Back and Forth
Once a player decides to be a traveling or land-owning fighter, only a major development in the campaign or in the character should change that status. The DM should discourage frequent or casual changes of the fighter’s status.