Question about martial points

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Question about martial points

Postby arnkel » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:44 am

I remember reading in the CM that the game really picks up when characters get their 4th martial point. because of the style game I'm playing(a heavily modified hybrid between Grim & Gritty, Iron Heroes, CM, & E6 with generic classes), I have to ask a power level related question though, does the 4 points from BAB make you "competent and skilled" or does it make you a prodigy?
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby zarlor » Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:58 pm

In my experience I would say more "competent & skilled". The 4 MP is where you get the most tactical control over how you want to spend the dice opening up options for you. The real power comes in from your Martial Feats and working some synergy into what you pick and how you use them.
Last edited by zarlor on Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:09 pm

I agree with Zarlor and would say the former.

If you ever studied martial arts, it's kind of like a black belt in karate - getting to that point that means you are ready to begin your serious training.

Effectively the 4 Dice are the baseline, from there more Martial Feats give you much more capabilities and effectively, more pool due to the Free Dice.

Once you are at say, 8th level, you'll have 8 martial feats probably at least half of which can confer another Free Dice circumstanially.

At 4th level you are just ready to 'play'. A single 1st level opponent is easy to deal with, but if you get ganged up on by 6 or 7 of them, you are still in trouble.
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby arnkel » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:32 pm

Ok, cool. Looks like I'll be making it so that warrior classes will function as if their BAB was one higher for getting martial points then so it falls more in line with my game's assumption of levels
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:51 pm

In character generation for the Codex I usually start players out at levels 2-4 and then make progression go slowly from there.

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Re: Question about martial points

Postby arnkel » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:25 pm

That's cool, and good to know, but I'm planning on using the Codex with E4 or E5 and the level understandings talked about here:


So, making warrior characters wait until 4th level for competence is a bit of a stretch.
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:55 pm

arnkel wrote:That's cool, and good to know, but I'm planning on using the Codex with E4 or E5 and the level understandings talked about here:


So, making warrior characters wait until 4th level for competence is a bit of a stretch.


Forgive me for writing a really long reply, I'll put it into a spoiler tab so you can read it at your leisure. But this is a subject that interests me a lot so I want to write a little essay about it:

Spoiler: show
E6 and the Codex
Somewhere along the line DnD went from being this interesting quasi-medieval adventure game where you could die and danger was around every corner, to a super-hero game of wish fulfillment and stale ego stroking fantasy. Invulnerable characters with godlike powers as the default. Part of why I wrote Codex was to correct this.

For clarity, while I typically start characters off in my campaigns using Codex at around 2nd or 3rd level (more on why that is in a moment), I usually don't let them go past 10th (and I run low-magic campaigns so there isn't any Godlike magic), and I think the sweet spot is around 5th or 6th level anyway.

So I'm really not that far of from E6 and I'm a big fan of the approach of E6 as a system, I just skimmed that article which seems to have a similar point of view. E6 (or E5 or whatever) as an approach does fix a lot of the problems in DnD all by itself (i.e. just eliminate all the high level shit and you no longer have cartoon comic book hero's and godlike magic powers, invulnerability levels of hit points and etc.). I think I actually talked to the guy who invented E6 via email once, about doing something together with him with the Codex, and he was a bit stymied by the Advanced Martial Feats starting at BaB 6 and so on, and we never followed up. But I think Codex and E6 are very close to the same wavelength.

I think with a little tweaking though you could make Codex fit with the E6 approach pretty well.

"E5" and the Codex

Based on reading that article, if you want to depict an average person from late Medieval Europe, you would want them to have the fighting abilities equivalent to one or two martial feats and 1-2 pool. For someone who was militarily experienced and somewhat formidable, you would want them to have 3 or 4 martial feats and pool.

My beef with default DnD social environment is that it's kind of based on a Monty Python view of the medieval world which holds somewhat true for certain parts of Europe, it really breaks down in a lot of the rest of the continent during medieval times, because those places had large middle class populations many of whom would be more than 1st level, more likely multi-classed with some military skills. The other problem is that medieval people generally tended to have military and fighting experience since their society included a lot more violence, including carefully scaled social violence, than most people are used to today, and they also practiced martial arts which was quite widespread across all social levels. So even peasants and serfs should have acquired some fighting skills over a lifetime, more I think than you get as a default 3.5 system 1st level / 0 level Commoner.

European middle class
A lot of England or France fit the DnD model adequately, with characters using the bonuses described in that article, with the majority of the population being made up of very poor and pretty unremarkable peasants equivalent to 1/2 (0) level or 1st level NPC's, a few 2nd level blacksmiths or what have you, and only a small minority of elite knights and clerics who reach 3rd or 4th level, a tiny number going maybe to 5th or 6th. In most parts of France maybe 90% of the population were what we would call poor subsistence farmers the DnD model holds up at least on the economics and skill level. They are pretty good at farming and not too much else.

But that model doesn't work for a lot of the medieval world. In the parts of Europe which were more urbanized and developed than say, Central France, you might have as much as 30 or 40% of the population living more like what we would call on an economic level, middle class, as artisans, merchants and so on, and the middle class back then was often extraordinarily talented at many things, and militarily skillful. Not 1st level in my opinion. In these places you would have much more people of much higher skill levels making up maybe half of the population of a typical town for example, in Italy or Germany or what is now Belgium, Catalonia, much of Poland, Czech area and so forth.

Image

If you'll bear with a long digression I'll give you a specific example of what I mean.

A fairly typical medieval town dweller

An average 30 year old cutler in the 1400's in a place like Nuremberg for example this guy Niklaus Pruckner who died in 1527. As a child he would have been educated from age 7 to age 12 in the town school or a church school, and taught the basics of reading and writing, grammar, arithmetic, some geometry and Aristotolean physics, and probably some music and astronomy. He has been through a 4 year apprenticeship starting around age 12, then has been on the road as a journeyman for 2 or 3 years, travelling all over Europe and beyond, before making his masterpiece and qualifying as a Master Cutler and settling down to do his day-job making swords and knives. He marries and sets up shop around age 22 or 23. At age 30 he has been a member of the town watch and the militia for 14 years, since he was a journeyman at 16, and Nuremburg is involved in a lot of military activity every year so he has undoubtedly seen action more than just a few times. As a member of the town watch he has to go on night-patrols basically as a policeman (in a group of other town watch) breaking up fights and arresting drunks and so forth, every two or three weeks. He probably has 2 kids with his wife, who does the books for his workshop and probably also works herself in her spare time, maybe as a brewer or a weaver. He has 2 or 3 apprentices and journeymen of his own as well as 1 or 2 servants.

As this guy's image shows us with the Lion of St. Mark in the background, he is almost certainly a member of a fencing guild called the Marxbrothers (that Winged Lion is their symbol) so he's going to have at least 2 or 3 fencing feats just from training with them for a few years (if you can't learn how to do probably half a dozen in 3 or 4 years you have a learning disability).. His main weapon in the militia is probably a gun or a crossbow and he very likely has also done a fair amount of target shooting in special shooting contests called shutzenfest which offer huge prizes (the top prize would be the equivalent of 10 years pay for Pruckner, so highly motivating) are encouraged by the town and are held by the town frequently (every year or two), as well as more informal contests like 'shooting the popinjay.' As a town citizen, Pruckner would carry a sword as a sidearm in his private life and he would be expected, really required to defend his honor at all times.

http://www.arbaletriers-vise.be/photos/big-phototir.jpg
This is a depiction of journeymen and apprentices in Krakow shooting the popinjay in 1505

And he probably goes hunting certain times of the year for various types of game: rabbits, birds, boar and deer, maybe bear and wolves. The city owns the surrounding forests and citizens are allowed to hunt there during strictly controlled hunting seasons. There is a fairly good chance therefore that between military experience, hunting and the shooting hobby he may have 1 or 2 other 'Martial Feats' related to shooting (like precision shot or far shot), or warfare (like formation fighting or volley shooting). He can probably also ride horses, and depending on his exact income level may be required to maintain a horse for his militia duties. He can read and write in German and do arithmetic, and probably owns a few books.

So under default rules I'd want to make this guy 4th or 5th level probably, by default 3.5 rules I'd make Pruckner probably a 3rd level Expert / 2nd level fighter (due to his Marxbruder membership - they have standards and require a certain degree of training to become a member just like his cutlers guild does). Most of his colleagues of equivalent age and rank (mature artisans of Master rank) might be 2nd or 3rd level experts and 1st level fighters.

And he's certainly not an extraordinary, Michael Jordan type guy by any means. Just a pretty typical artisan, at the upper end of the working class. On the tax rolls in Nuremberg he's probably at about the top 30 percent group, having moved from the bottom (untaxable) 30% when he was just an apprentice.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... g_1444.jpg

A step above somebody like Pruckner, people in the top 10 percent stratum of his town who made up the elite merchants and the town council or senat and mayors of the city, had an even wider set of skills. These warrior merchants called 'patricians' fought as heavy cavalry (like Knights) in the town militia, and had to lead their armies into battle. We know they did since they frequently god killed as we can see in the town records. For example this guy fighting with the Poll-axe on the bridge is Rudolph Stussi, the Mayor of Zurich, about to be killed in a war in 1444. Many patricians also had careers as ship captains, commanding their own merchant ships, and leading them into battle during wartime. Sometimes they had to act as pirates for extended periods. For example Paul Benecke, city councilor of Danzig, captured a famous Hans Memling Triptych during a war in the 1470's, as commander of his warship the Peter von Danzig. I'd guess Benecke would rate as a 4th level Expert / 3rd level Fighter or Ranger (Paladin maybe?)

Guys at that NBA superstar level that aren't so rare either in the medieval world (in those more developed zones I mentioned) and we have dozens of good examples of men (and sometimes women) in this period who were very good at many things - so called "Renaissance men". For example the 16th Century artist Buenvenuto Cellini was apparently a superb shot with an arquebus (he shot a general in the enemy army to death while defending the walls during the sack of Rome in 1527), sufficiently skilled at using cannons that he was put in charge of the artillery during that same siege, was good enough at fencing that he killed several people in duels during his life and on more than one occasion fought off groups of enemies. And yet he was also a top level goldsmith, musician, painter, sculptor, and architect, among other things, and he spoke 4 languages and could read and write in all four. So I think under default rules he'd be at least a 7th or 8th level guy personally, and I wouldn't say Cellini was the most accomplished person of his era. Maybe he is a 5th level Expert / 3rd level Fighter. Something like that.


A more violent time

In the late Medieval era (say 1300-1500) even in places like the poorer parts of rural France, a substantial part of the population would have some not inconsiderable level of military experience. France was fighting a war with England and Burgundy for the better part of 100 Years, and during that time much of the country was mobilized at least for local defense. Not only did they have to worry about the English and Burgundians and their mercenaries, their own mercenaries, the Armagnacs would frequently 'go rogue' and terrorize local populations whenever they didn't get paid. Many ordinary French peasants became mercenaries themselves during this period, serving for a few years before returning to farming life. The common soldiers on both the English and French side would in fact be peasants, whereas the Burgundians had a mix of peasants plus a lot of city-people from Flanders and Holland who would probably be a little higher level multi-class characters right out of the gate (like Pruckner, above). On top of all that, French peasants had to worry about piracy along the coasts from Muslim and Christian pirates, and large bands of outlaws who infested most of the forests. People traveled a lot more in medieval times generally speaking than most today assume - to market, to visit relatives, to go on pilgrimages, on journeymen years like in Germany, fleeing outbreaks of Plague or the devastation of soldiers or bandits (the two often went together) so they had experience of the road.

I'd guess if 90% of the population of Late Medieval France were poor peasants (subsistence farmers), probably 10 or 15% of them were either Army or militia veterans or had been involved in a lot of fighting, might have spent time as a bandit or an outlaw. In addition to that, even poor peasants practiced martial arts, notably grappling but also archery (particularly in England) and when they could (sometimes as poachers) they hunted. So I think you'd have a fair number of 2nd and 3rd level fighters in the population. More than DnD would suggest by default. In places like Germany, Italy, Flanders and Slavic Central Europe (Poland, Czech, Hungary etc.) an active formal and informal dueling culture existed in all the towns among the common people (along with fencing matches and the shooting contests I mentioned before), while the wealthier merchants and so on participated routinely in knightly tournaments. They also fought pirates on the high seas and had amazing adventures- Genoese and Venetian merchants were routinely traveling all the way to China down the Silk Road. North-German merchants traded from Russia in the East, fighting massive, powerful pirate groups like the Victual Brothers there and back.

Military experience and extensive travel through hazardous area gives you extra skills other than strictly fighting techniques. Foraging, gathering information, spotting, listening, searching, hiding... I think you pick up some of these things while on campaign.


For Codex, to adopt to an E5 / E6 type thing, I'd just start them off with an extra BAB and Martial Feat, start with 2, then progress normally from there so that you have BAB 4 at 3rd level. Change the Advanced Martial Feat prerequisite from 6 BaB down to 3 BaB. I'd also increase the BAB for the non-fighter classes, and maybe boost skill points slightly as well, say +4 skill points at 1st level regardless of Class. Then your lower level, 1st-3rd level people, can actually fight a little and can do several things like in the real world. That should do it.

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Re: Question about martial points

Postby arnkel » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:27 pm

As I was already redoing classes completely for this game, I was already planning on handing out extra skill points, removing the entire idea of class skills, and using a modified version of Iron Heroes' Skill Groups(if you have access to the skill group, spending 1 skill point gives you 1 rank in every skill in the group, if you don't have the skill group you have to buy them at 1 point for 1 rank in one skill). Also using the Iron Heroes Feat progression(for "classed" characters it's 2 feats at 1st level and a feat every even level, while non-classed creatures go by the standard 1 feat at 1st level and an additional every 3rd level).

I'll also be playing in a game that'll be closer to year 1000AD than late medieval as that's an era I'm familiar with in terms of both the differing cultures as well as the various armaments available.

I was also planning on completely getting rid of NPC classes. The "commoner" will just be a level 1-3 expert with a focus on trade and survival skills & abilities.

I don't understand why you would need to increase the BAB when it's relative as is. If it's for the purpose of martial points, wouldn't a simpler solution just be to increase the number of MP each character has access to? If I were bringing a "modern" character into this game, say via some time travel shenanigans, unless the guy has some actual training/experience, his inability to attack or defend effectively would be a function of his lack of weapon proficiencies(-4 penalty to attack, and presumably defense rolls) which would even apply to his "natural" weapons(punching/kicking).

I admit that I've not read over the martial feats too closely(there are a lot of them, and no matter how good a writer you are, they'll always be dry reading), so I'll keep the ideas you have in mind for both additional feats and altering the BAB prerequisites when I finally get around to compiling my feat lists for the campaign.
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Re: Question about martial points

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:57 am

I think all that is quite reasonable, and yes you don't need to increase BaB, how you fine-tune to your own campaign is really a matter of how you want to run it, though we are always glad to hear about it on here, so feel free to share your choices (as you have been doing) and how they work out in game as you are playing.

What part of the world are you setting the campaign in?

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Re: Question about martial points

Postby arnkel » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:31 am

The setting I plan on using will be one of my own creation, but I'm trying to pattern the Human cultures after those that would have had a presence on the southern shore of the Baltic sea during the the late 10th to early 11th centuries, specifically the time period covered in the Jomsviking Saga. I figure that the area has a wide enough selection of differing cultures that it wont feel too constricting to players, and it's not the standard British Isles or Scandinavia proper fare that most games set in that time period tend to be about.

Admittedly, there's not a whole lot of reliable surviving data from this era to build upon(trying to avoid renaissance sources as much as possible unless they can be corroborated by archeological evidence), and I may be tempted to take short cuts in world building by using HarnWorld products to help flesh some out some aspects of the world, but I'm trying to keep that to a minimum. It does help that certain things (geology for instance) have not changed overmuch in the last 1,000 years, as I'm trying to build the game world from the ground up starting with an understanding of the region's geology.
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