[LL Supplemental] Giving Fighters Style

Of all the character classes covered in the Labyrinth Lord (LL) rules, or in the Advanced Edition Companion (AEC) for that matter, the Fighter seems to be the most basic. Special Abilities are almost nonexistent. It is painfully obvious that the Fighter can be expanded upon with just a few simple additions to the class, making it more desirable to players who may otherwise choose a more ability rich class to play.

Below are some additional rules that could help flesh out the Fighter class in your game. Remember, these rules are for Fighters only. Rangers and Paladins have enough Special Abilities in place to make them interesting and well rounded. They do not need any more.

Fighter (Optional Rules)
At first level the Fighter gains Weapon Specialization, and must choose a specific weapon to become their weapon of choice. Choose carefully, because it cannot be changed during the career of the Fighter. Once chosen, the Fighter gains an additional +1 to hit and +1 to damage when wielding their weapon of choice.

Reaching 3rd level: Fighters gain a Combat Style. The gaining of this ability reflects the dedication Fighters have toward their skill in arms. An additional Combat Style can be selected at levels 8, 13 and again at 18. Here are four Combat Styles that a Fighter can choose from:

Breaker – this Combat Style specializes in the use of a two-handed gripping technique to gain additional control and power over a wielded weapon. The name refers to the ability of a combatant using this style to break through an opponent's defences using shear force.
  • The combatant’s weapon must accommodate the use of two hands.
  • Gain an additional +2 damage bonus (gain an additional +2 damage each time this Combat Style is selected at higher levels).
  • Gain +1 to initiative rolls due to the extra control and speed the combatant has when wielding a weapon with two hands (this is a one time bonus, and does not increase when Breaker style is selected again at higher levels).
  • When a natural 19 or 20 is rolled the opponent must make a successful DEX check or loose their footing due to the power of the attack. The opponent must spend the remainder of the round and the next combat round regaining their footing, and in doing so is unable to make any attacks and also looses any AC bonuses gained from DEX.
  • If disarming rules are being used, a combatant using Breaker style will be harder to disarm, and to reflect this two successful disarming attacks (one for each hand) are required to send a weapon flying.
  • Weapon Specialization rules still apply.
Shieldsman – this Combat Style allows the combatant to capitalize on the use of shields in combat. As a result, better defensive tactics are gained, as well as the ability to turn the shield into an effective weapon.
  • Gain an additional +1 AC shield bonus and +1 to hit bonus when using the shield as a weapon (each of these bonuses raise an additional +1 each time this Combat Style is selected at higher levels).
  • Shield Bash is a combat maneuver a Shieldsman is able to perform. Executing a Shield Bash maneuver is handled just as a two-weapon attack, with all the penalties and stipulations in place. Damage is as follows: Buckler = 1d3 / Small Shield = 1d4 / Medium Shield = 1d6 / Large Shield = 1d8 (Strength bonuses apply). The shield’s AC bonus is sacrificed during a Shield Bash.
  • Shield Rush is another combat maneuver that allows the Shieldsman to slam full speed ahead into another combatant. The Shieldsman must be able to rush 10’ and forgo all other attacks during the round to achieve this maneuver. Damage is as a Shield Bash, but the victim must also make a DEX check or be knocked down. Combat and situational modifiers apply. Since the Fighter is covered behind the shield during a Shield Rush the AC bonus is never lost when performing the maneuver.
  • Weapon Specialization rules still apply.
Swashbuckler – this Combat Style trains the combatant to wield two light weapons at the same time. The use of lighter armor allows for greater mobility, allowing the combatant to use tumbling and acrobatics in combat.
  • Two-weapon Fighting rules covered in the LL AEC (page 142) apply here, along with all penalties and restrictions.
  • For this style to be effective the combatant is restricted to studded leather armor or lighter, and must be wielding two weapons.
  • This style of fighting is fast paced and adaptable, and a Fighter must live in the moment to take advantage of combat opportunities as they arise. To reflect this there are a variety of bonuses available, and a tactical decision must be made each round of combat (choose only one): +1 bonus to hit or +2 bonus to AC or +1 bonus to Initiative (an additional +1 bonus to hit / +2 bonus to AC / +1 bonus to Initiative each time this Combat Style is selected at higher levels).
  • Weapon Specialization rules still apply.
Weapon Master – this combat style allows the combatant to focus their training on one particular weapon for additional precision and control.
  • The student must choose one weapon to focus their training on. This weapon of choice cannot be changed once selected. A Fighter cannot master any other weapons beyond their weapon of choice.
  • Gain a bonus +1 to hit and +2 damage when wielding their weapon of choice (these bonuses are raised +1 to hit and +2 damage each time this Combat Style is selected at higher levels).
  • If Weapon Master style is selected again at a higher level an additional attack can be made once every other round. This stacks with the additional attack a Fighter normally gains at 15th level.
  • Weapon Specialization rules still apply.
The rules presented here are considered Open Game License (OGL).
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