Lightly Armored Fighter (3.5e Alternate Class Feature)
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Lightly Armored Fighter
The fighter class as it stands suffers from several problems. It is considered underpowered. It is designed for flexibility, but it is extremely, and ahistorically, inflexible; if you are not interested in playing a sword-and-board, plate-armored tank, two or three of the “feats” that the fighter receives at first level are wasted (heavy armor, shield, and/or tower shield proficiencies). Finally, the feat trees that give the fighter his only true “class abilities” are a long, slow climb. All these problems can be addressed by allowing the fighter more flexibility in choosing what kind of an expert warrior he or she has been trained to be.
Replaces: The following variants are not proficient in heavy armor, medium armor or shields, including tower shields.
Benefit: Chose one of the following variants.
The benefits of the Lightly Armored Fighter extra feats apply only when he wears light or no armor. He loses all benefits of his extra feats when wearing medium or heavy armor. :
Archer: Like the English longbowman, the archer has a lifetime of training with his chosen missile weapon, but shields are of no use to him, and heavy armor is neither affordable nor practical for him.
Mounted Archer: From steppe tribes to the great empire of the Mongols, bow-armed cavalry were a devastating tool on the battlefield. The product of years of training with the horse and the bow, these elite warriors hit hard and traveled light.
Scout: Armies need scouts – and spies. Forest lands need gamekeepers. And many legendary warriors were first and foremost great hunters.
Tribal Champion: Between the savagery of the barbarian and the advanced technological warfare of plate armor and heavy warhorse lie whole cultures whose warriors were by no means primitive. Scottish warriors wielding Claymores, Celts dual-wielding battleaxes, or a humble footman trained with a pike all are examples of highly trained hand-to-hand fighters represented by this template.
Urban Warrior: Any great city worthy of the name is not going to allow plate-clad nobles with massive swords to roam the streets. But men of certain class will still train their sons to fight – to fight the battles of the city. And in some cities, too, flourish blood sports – and with them men trained not as soldiers, but as entertainers. Even deeper in the shadows reside the muscle, the enforcers – the killers. Trained they are, and arduously, but not by tilting at lists.
Mobile Striker: Being a guardsman is fine for some, but it does not help with the main problem in combat; the enemy commander. Some fighters are trained to move past the rank and file, carving a line to the man in charge.
Knife Fighter: Streetrats, knife fighters, gunslingers, throwers and cut throats know all about these. They fight quickly. Sometimes with honor and ceremony, sometimes with just a simple flick of the wrist and a smile. These people come from all over, able to ready themselves in a moments notice, having struck before anyone else is even aware of the situations. We rely on these people to get the job done.
Antimagus: Sometimes the greatest threat in a battle is not the enemy commander or the heavy cavalry, but their spellcaster. Even a low-level mage can, with enough cunning, single-handedly turn the tide of an engagement. Armies have begun to learn this, and many warriors now train in the methods necessary to disrupt magical attack. As Fireballs and Cloudkills distinguish not between light leather and heavy full plate, armor can only serve to slow these troops down.
One Sword Way: The Sublime Way is a tempting avenue of power, but few have the discipline to see it through and only gain rudimentary knowledge of the path.
Standard fighters can take the benefits of their wide proficiency in weapons and armor and multiclass immediately, taking with them the equivalent of five or more feats. But in the case of the armor feats, other classes usually carry restrictions that limit their use, such as the arcane spell failure chance or the loss of the monk’s abilities. Fighters using this variant are similarly limited and lose access to the feats granted if they wear medium or heavy armor or use tower shields.
The benefits substituted here are more universally functional. For that reason, a player who takes one of these variants is forbidden from multiclassing until he or she has at least three levels in fighter. This will limit characters “dipping” into the fighter class to pick up four feats at 1st level.