February 5, 2020

Faceless Goon

Martial Archetype
Notes from the Nails: you know who doesn't get enough credit? Henchmen. It is a truth rarely acknowledged that without loyal minions, there would be no supervillains.

Faceless Goon

As a faceless goon, it is your job to do whatever your evil master demands, assisting them in their crimes and serving as their guards and soldiers whenever required. As such, you are an expert in all-around violence, including but not limited to smashing, bashing, shanking, clobbering, blowing things up and mowing people down.

Dumb Muscle
If strength of arm is the most important aspect of goonhood, not asking questions is the second most important. When you adopt this archetype, your Strength score increases by 2 (to a maximum of 20), but your Intelligence score decreases by 2 (to a minimum of 3).

Grunt Work
Also at 3rd level, the many hours of grunt work you have to put in make you an expert in the mundane tasks of villainy: destroying evidence, guarding prisoners, hiding bodies, carrying loot, repairing rooms trashed by your boss in fits of rage, and so forth. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks made while patrolling a location you are familiar with, and you can complete mundane tasks such as unloading trucks or cleaning up crime scenes twice as quickly as an ordinary person.

Looming Menacingly
At 7th level, your presence is inherently scary, even when you're not trying to intimidate someone. You can use your Strength score instead of Charisma on any Charisma check or saving throw that you are required to make.

Gang Up
When you reach 10th level, you know how to make best use of a numerical advantage in combat. Once on each of your turns, you can gain advantage on an attack roll against any target that is within 5 feet of one of your allies, as long as that ally is not incapacitated.

Brutal Whacking
At 15th level, you develop a ruthless efficiency for hatchet jobs. If you score a critical hit against a humanoid, you can force it to make a Constitution saving throw or be immediately reduced to 0 hit points. The DC for this save equals  8 + your Strength modifier + your proficiency bonus.
     Once you use this ability, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.

Trusted Lieutenant
By 18th level, you have become one of your evil boss' most reliable servants, and even have your own squad of lower-ranking mooks that you can boss around. As a bonus action on your turn, you can summon up 6 goons, who appear in unoccupied spaces within 30 feet of you. These goons use the statistics for bandits, cultists, guards, scouts, or thugs in any combination of your choice; the DM has their statistics. They obey your orders without question (no action required) for 1 hour, after which they must return to their regular duties. If any of your goons die within this duration, you can use a bonus action to call up enough reinforcements to bring the squad back up to six. As before, the reinforcements appear in unoccupied spaces within 30 feet of you.
     Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.



Changelog: 2/14/20: Brutal Whacking: Half HP sentence removed

25 comments:

  1. I like the concept of Brutal Whacking, but I feel like there is way too many hoops.
    1) land a crit
    2) know the enemy is below half hp
    3) gets a save
    4) and its a 1/SR
    If the enemy is above half hp, make it not use up the 1/SR. Or something. Way too many things make it not work, looks really really weak

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    1. To note, Finger added in the 'half HP' clause. I agree with you that it's too weak with all four hoops. For me, the 1/SR limit is the key balancing factor, and it should be enough to stop anyone abusing it.

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    2. Maybe tweak it to giving advantage on the saving throw or a big bonus to the saving throw if the HP is above half? This still carries a challenge to the Fighter while enabling the use of features and feats that affect d20 rolls and saving throws.

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    3. It's especially bad if your group's playstyle doesn't include direct knowledge of enemy HP totals. Say you've been fighting in a tavern with some guy for a while, and he's been battered and scraped up a bit, but he's not going down - is he below half? Or did you bite off more than you could chew and attack some sort of gang leader or expert mercenary, and he's still ready to rumble? If it's keeping that HP clause, it needs to not consume its 1/SR use if it fails due to enemy HP, but I agree the HP clause is unnecessary altogether.

      The 3rd level features are also kinda bland, though I guess it fits the theme and means there are less moving parts if you want to give a baddie a squad of fighters without worrying about increased crit ranges or Maneuvers or whatever.

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    4. I felt the potential to one-turn kill a big HP pool monster made Brutal Whacking pretty crazy without some sort of constraint. Thus, why it got a half-health constraint. I'm open to hearing better ways of handling it, however.

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    5. If brutal whacking Did Something on a successful save I'd feel better about it. Damage = 3* fighter level or a 1 turn slow, ferinstance.

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    6. I'd say since you don't actually get to use the feature when you want, and the requirement is a crit, it doesn't have to be 1/rest.

      Having the creature become frightened on a successful save also makes sense to me.

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    7. I love the flavor of this subclass, but agree that Brutal Whacking isn't going to work when you want it to as written. Here's my suggestion. Instead of 1/2 max hp, make it less than 100 hp and if they succeed on the save they still take the crit's damage.

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    8. Ashice's suggestion is my favourite, for the record.

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    9. Ashice's suggestion is a good one. I'd apply it after the creature takes the crit damage, and creatures immune to crits are immune to this effect.

      Alternatively, is auto stun on crit until the end of the creature's next turn too much? Sets it up to be vulnerable to ally attacks (or possibly not, depending on initiative).

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  2. Almost was going to point out that the 7th level feature was not necessary, but then I read through it again and realized it was all Charisma checks and Saves, and not just skills like Intimidation which is already a thing

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  3. Isn't this subclass kind of... boring? At 3rd level, you're not really getting *anything* unique for combat, unlike every other fighter subclass - even Purple Dragon Knight/Banneret gives something unique for combat at 3rd level (albeit something weak).

    Also, isn't it kind of bad design to not only give ability score changes in a class feature at early levels, but to also do an ability score penalty? Was there really any need to subtract from Intelligence besides forcing the character picking this subclass to fit into the same mold as anyone else doing the same? I get that it kind of fits the theme, but I don't think a penalty is a good idea - it's really not adding anything, just taking stuff away.

    Frankly, I'm not even entirely sure what sorts of actual combat mechanics would work better at 3rd level, but you guys are the brewers here, not me - I'm sure that you'd be able to think up something way cooler than just some flat bonuses and glorified background features for 3rd.

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    1. Well, my thought was that not everyone wants flashy, unique features. Some people like to keep it simple, you know? No one subclass is perfect for every player.

      The neat thing about giving +2 Strength at level 3 (other than getting a head start on everyone else), is that it essentially frees up a feat - and fighters already get lots of feats. That means you can actually do *more* customisation of your overall build than if you had a funky subclass feature at level 3.

      And I mean, the penalty is more for appearances than anything else... the difference between 6 and 8 Int is not large in practice.

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    2. "the difference between 6 and 8 Int is not large in practice." You could literally make the same exact argument for 18 and 20 str or some shit, renderring the whole feature pointless

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    3. I think it's fine to keep things simple, but compare this to the Champion, or even the Brute: those subclasses are both very simple, but they still give unique things that make them a lot more interesting to play as.

      Meanwhile, just granting flat bonuses to ability scores doesn't really feel... interesting. You're not wrong about the fact that it frees up a feat, but considering feats are an optional rule (albeit one commonly used), I feel that balancing the subclass's lack of complexity around that is... strange. If optional rules are being taken into account, then there's also the fact a player could have a 19 or 20 before taking this subclass, so the main "meat" of the subclass doesn't actually do anything for them.

      I also don't think the penalty is a good idea, just like kobolds and orcs; the ability score penalties there don't really make those races "more balanced", nor do they make them more interesting - it just stifles creativity.

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    4. OnceDod- not true, since as a fighter you'll use Str pretty much every turn, and Int very rarely. It's definitely good. A fighter with 20 str and 6 int is better than one with 8 str and 18 int.

      And the whole point of homebrew is giving choices and options that stand outside the normal constraints of the edition.

      As for stifling creativity, I've personally found that having a very low ability score on a character makes roleplaying much more interesting, and gives RP options rather than taking them away. Just think about some characters from movies, books, etc.

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    5. I think what he meant with 'stifling creativity' is that it pigeonholes the archetype very hard

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    6. I'm actually someone that really finds low ability scores fun, but I think that forcing *every single character* that goes this subclass to have low Intelligence pigeonholes it too hard.

      What if I want to play as a character that's still a faceless goon, but is a bit more clever? The class feature actively discourages me from doing that, and while I could still try to do that, it makes it far harder than it should be for no actual balance reason.

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    7. it occurs to me that the 'faceless' part jives better with a hit to Cha anyway.

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    8. Hivemind: This subclass is just more specific than usual. There are subclasses which give you more freedom to mess around with character concepts, and some- like Oath of the Crown, Path of the Battlerager, or Purple Dragon Knight- are more restrictive, in order to better convey the theme or concept they were meant for.

      That's totally fine IMO; This class is not meant to be a clever "faceless goon", much like a barbarian is not meant to be played as a pacifist.

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  4. "Dumb Muscle"
    Honestly, the whole feature should be just called "Dumb" because that's what it is. Don't mess with my fucking stats. It isn't even interesting like Barb's increased cap for strenght, it's just flat numbers. It literally forces you to play a stupid muscle head with no room for nuance. At LEAST make it something like "+2 str and -2 whatever other stat you choose" it would still be bad but at least it'd be more varesetile. How do you make brew for 5 years and then go ahead and make a newbie error like that, completely disregarding 5e design philosophy.

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    1. Firstly, manners are important.

      Secondly, any subclass feature which affects ability scores directly is already throwing out 5e design conventions, but it's important to keep things in perspective: this subclass is for characters that are mooks, minions, and grunts. If we were building something that would expand the 5e system in interesting and versatile ways, we wouldn't have written it up as a faceless goon. This subclass is to neatly express a simple character archetype, not to allow for nuanced character interactions. That's just not the big dumb goon's /thing./

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  5. I love this !

    That's a really simple and effective idea. I'm just not sure about the brutal whacking feature, for a level 15 ability it's hidden behind a lot of hoops.

    I feel like dropping the half health requirement would work just fine, since at those higher levels enemies have ridiculously high CON saves anyway.

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