Saturday, April 30, 2011

Build Strategy: Fighters

I thought I’d spend a little time discussing how to go about building the various character archetypes in Resolute. I’m not keen on developing entire guides for each archetype (although free 1-page pdfs are not outside the realm of possibility), but it seemed that I could at least start with a discussion here. Today we'll talk about fighters.

Fighters are expected to be able to go toe to toe with adversaries (in melee). The other three archetypes depend on not being in melee with foes (most of the time), so this job will likely fall to fighters. Here are the abilities to consider:
• Arms. This is really a bread and butter ability for the fighter. This sets the rating for both weapons and armor; even though it may seem counter-intuitive, it might be best to tailor your arms to maximize your armor, keep your weapon at the rating, and set missile as low as it will go; you won’t be needing it.
• Aspect. This seems like a non-ability for a fighter, but you really can’t afford to completely ignore it. If you are going to be the primary damage soaker, you also need to be able to soak it! A few points in aspect will allow you to purchase cloaks of warding, and these will be vital when enemy casters are bearing down on you or you step into the path of a breath weapon; all the shiny armor in the world isn’t going to matter in that case.
• Evade is another ability that seems like you can ignore it (especially with high armor), but you really can’t.
• Intuition is an area you may have to forfeit some points. Of course you’d LIKE to be able to respond quickly and decipher clues from your environment, but you really can’t afford to sink too many points here. The ability to go earlier or later in a round is relatively unimportant vs. the other things you have to do. Whereas a caster wants to get spells off to prevent a foe from even getting an attack or a stalker needs to get into hiding quickly, you can stand right there and take your foe’s best shot; in fact, it ALMOST serves you better to go later in the round; you know which foe is the biggest threat after your allies have had a chance to thin the herd a little bit; you are going to go after that ogre unless the magician’s stun spell takes him out of the equation for a few rounds; you’re best off waiting until you know whether the spell worked. If you’re going to elect to delay anyhow, don’t waste points here needlessly. Someone else in the group can be responsible for finding secret doors.
• Precision seems like it might be a viable option when compared with might, but it’s really not; precision allows you to wield melee weapons or missile weapons, whereas might allows you to wield melee weapons or thrown weapons. If you were a primary missile wielder, precision would be the way to go. However, you are going to be called on to do a number of things, and ranged attacking should (likely) be a minor one. By taking might, you give up the better range and unlimited ammo afforded by precision to get a useful ability in a variety of situations, the ability to soak poison, resist disease, fight your way out of constriction and basically do all of the things that your fellowship is going to expect you to do – and you can still throw weapons at a decent range in a pinch. You can’t really be a fighter in the full sense without a healthy helping of might. Since this is how you attack, you’ll want a decent might to increase your chances of striking in melee combat. Even as a primarily ‘defensive’ fighter, you need some might to do all the things you’ll be asked to do.
• Weapon Specialist. Don’t go crazy with this ability; at most, keep it one rating below your arms rating; with arms +5, you can’t really justify putting more than +4 into weapon specialist. I know that it’s guaranteed damage on a hit, but so is arms; and your bonus points from might on a successful attack carry over to damage as well, so you could argue that might gives you some ‘guaranteed’ damage too, by guaranteeing you’ll hit more often for more base damage. At low ratings, this is a comparatively cheap way to scale up weapon damage; at high ends, it’s a waste of your resources. No fighter can ever justify taking weapon specialist beyond +6, and few will increase it beyond +4.
• Applications: you will want to eventually take two weapons, two-handed or shields (or a combination of these). At higher levels, these are relatively cheap ways to pick up a slew of bonus points that can really turn the tide of a battle. Don’t get these at lower levels; 2 CPs is a huge investment at level 1 (and gives you a comparatively small return on that investment), but by level 5, you’re seeing quite a bit of bang for your buck. I’d say around level 3 is where you’d want to start thinking about picking one of these up; before that, there are far better ways to spend your 2 CPs.
• Resolve. This one is completely based on your play style. The game assumes that all heroes have at least a little resolve, and every scene is likely to require you to do something that pushes you beyond your normal limits; if you have no resolve at all, you cannot perform heroic feats when called upon, and you are completely dependent on the dice. A huge investment here means that you aren’t invested in other important abilities; a 2-CP investment early on ensures that you have at least a few chances to do something special each scene.