While Wizards cast different spells, and Clerics are granted various miraculous powers, Fighters train in the skills of combat. There are three areas of training for a fighter:

– Dueling, which deals with single opponents. The passive bonus of Dueling adds to Defense.
– Duelists are also skilled in witty banter, womanizing, riding, athletic feats, attack rolls for fancy maneuvers, medium sized weapons, paired weapons, civilized gambling (baccarat, bridge, etc.), and fine cuisine (both identifying and preparing).

– Brawling, which deals with multiple opponents. The passive bonus of Brawling allows the fighter to attack multiple opponents of lower hit dice.
– Brawlers are skilled in grappling, unarmed fighting, improvised weapons, small weapons, drinking without passing out, bar bets, whoring, low gambling, and bad food that won’t kill you (identifying or preparing).

– Killing, which teaches how opponents may be slain – or incapacitated (it is necessary to know what kills to avoid doing it accidentally). The passive bonus of Killing adds to attack (and sometimes damage) rolls.
– Killers are skilled with all weapons, not only attacking with them but caring for and cleaning them. Killers know how to negotiate a price, and how to intimidate others. Killers aren’t necessarily stealthy, but they do know how to conceal their weapons about their person, even larger ones sometimes (though this is difficult, and requires props large enough to disguise the weapons).

Fighters learn one skill each level. At level 1, the fighter gets a passive bonus from the specialization tree he or she learned a skill from. Fighters above level 1 who have no skills outside of one tree gain the full passive bonus (equal to level), full level bonus in the skill checks of that specialization, plus extra depending on the specialization.
– Dueling adds the ability to taunt an opponent into single combat, requiring that opponent to make a save or else accept the challenge.
– Brawling adds defense when fighting multiple opponents.
– Killing adds its bonus to damage rolls as well as attack rolls.

Fighters with skills in multiple specializations get the full passive bonus and skill check bonus in the one with the most skills, half of them in the one with the second most, and none of the passive bonus (half level skill check bonus with at least one skill) in the other. None of the extra bonuses are gained, because versatility sacrifices the benefits of exclusive focus. Fighters who have learned a Master level skill in a specialization may gain its extra bonus even if they have skills in another specialization. The secondary and tertiary specializations remain unchanged in how much bonus they get.

Hit Die: d8

Fighter skills are organized into tiers of skill, based on how deep into a specialization the fighter must be to learn them:
Tier Skills Required
Novice 0
Student 2
Advanced 6
Master 14

//Skills per tier:
//Novice – 3
//Student – 5
//Advanced – 7
//Master – 2

Dueling Novice Skills

– When an attack misses the fighter, he may make his attack on the enemy who missed him immediately, instead of waiting for his next combat turn; this uses his combat turn, and he may not do this if he has taken an action this round.

En Garde
– Against one opponent, the fighter is ready to defend; when that opponent would hit, the fighter may roll an opposed check against the attack roll. If the fighter beats the attacker’s roll, the attack is parried, and does not hit.

– Opponents of lower level cannot get a bonus to defense based on their level against this fighter.

Dueling Student Skills

– When attempting to disarm an opponent, the fighter may dictate what happens to the disarmed weapon on a success – it can be taken in a free hand, flung to a particular place on the battlefield or to an ally with a free hand, etc. (Normally the GM would dictate what happens to a disarmed weapon)

– The fighter may attempt to trip an opponent with any weapon, not just weapons which are well suited to it.

– Instead of a damaging attack, the fighter can attack to get something in the opponent’s eyes (describe appropriately for setting; dust, a bedsheet, burning cinders, etc. all work equally well). The opponent will fight as if blind for 1d4 rounds (1d6 or 1d8 if the GM considers the blinding tool especially effective) if the attack hits.

– A swift jab with a blunt part of the weapon or with the fighter’s body knocks the opponent off balance in some way – whether leaving him breathless, senseless, or wobbling, the effect is the same. That opponent skips his next turn in combat due to recovering (instead of taking damage), if this special attack is successful.

– The fighter has trained to use any melee weapon to damage an opponent in a grapple, not just specialized grappling aids.

Dueling Advanced Skills

High Ground
– When taking advantage of a bonus granted by terrain, this fighter is so adept that the bonus is doubled.

Leaping Attack
– When executing a leaping attack, the fighter’s weapon(s) is(are) considered one size larger for damage.

Strike and Move
– When successfully striking an opponent, the fighter may take an extra movement to a spot just outside that opponent’s reach.

Unexpected Angle
– This fighter has trained so that he charges from an oblique angle, and does not lose any defense for charging.

Inside the Guard
– If this fighter remains adjacent to an opponent after attacking in melee, then on the next turn her attack against that opponent ignores any skill or agility based defense bonuses.

Feign Weakness
– For a combat turn, the fighter drops his defense bonus from level. He gains a counterattack against any opponents who attack him while he uses this stance, which does not require his action. (if used with parry-riposte, it IS possible to counterattack the same enemy twice; it IS possible to both Feign Weakness and be En Garde against the same opponent – just remember that Feign Weakness applies to all opponents, while En Garde applies to only one)

Instant Readiness
– It does not take this fighter an action to read her weapons, and she loses no defense against surprise attacks.

Dueling Master Skills

Minimum Effort
– This master duelist suffers no defense penalty for engaging in strenuous or attention-focusing tasks like lifting heavy objects or engaging in delicate negotiations. These tasks are also not penalized for defending against attacks.

Coup de Gras
– If the opponent is suffering any kind of penalty to defense, this master duelist may exploit it; foregoing any damage, attacks against such opponents may cause them to die on a failed save.

Brawling Novice Skills

Skull Crack
– Skulls sound like hollow coconuts when cracked together. That discovery is inherent in discovering this skill: how to grapple two opponents at once.

Shoulder Throw
– Also known as a hip check, hard shove, etc. The skill of moving an opponent, violently. When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter can throw an opponent (level + strength bonus) meters in a straight line. Any attack may forego damage to push the opponent half that far.

Reverse Strike
– In a crowd, there are always enemies behind you. The fighter with this skill has tricks to counter them, and suffers no penalties to attacking or defending for being flanked.

Brawling Student Skills

Dual Strike
– So many enemies, so little time! This fighter has such experience fighting groups that any time he attacks one enemy in melee, he may attack a second one as well. This doubles each attack made with the passive brawling bonus.

Send Them On
– When an opponent misses her, this fighter may throw that opponent as if with Shoulder Throw.

Borrowed Weapons
– When voluntarily ending a grapple, this fighter may steal an opponent’s weapon with any free hand.

Crowd Chaos
– For each combatant – ally or enemy – adjacent to him, this fighter gains +1 defense.

Single Out
– Some opponents are more important than others; this skill allows a fighter to forego damage to maneuver an opponent into a corner or other disadvantageous position – and, most importantly, a position where no other combatant can assist him without going through the fighter.

Brawling Advanced Skills

Triple Strike
– This refinement of brawling allows a fighter to strike simultaneously with every limb she isn’t standing on. This fighter must first know Dual Strike; upon learning Triple Strike, the number of opponents hit at once in melee becomes three instead of two.

Keep Distance
– Some crowds, you don’t want to mingle with. Using dirty tricks and thrown detritus, the fighter may attack – foregoing damage – against the highest defense in a crowd adjacent to him; on hit, a gap of (level) meters is opened between the fighter and the nearest enemy, putting the fighter in a safe spot. If enemies would be forced to move to open this distance, they may be put in unsafe spots.

Double Shot
– One arrow or javelin just won’t do when there’s an onrushing mob, so this fighter has learned to launch multiples. She may attack two enemies at once with ranged weapons; this applies to each attack made with the brawling passive as well, just as with Dual Strike.

– The brawler knows that multiple foes can hinder each other. Upon successfully tripping one foe, this fighter may immediately try to trip any foes adjacent to that enemy.

Coming Through
– Enemies may not block this fighter’s movement without grappling or tripping him.

Crashing Charge
– When charging and striking more than one enemy, treat weapon damage as if one size larger.

Team Up
– This fighter gets an extra +2 to hit and +1 to damage when an ally is flanking the target of her attack.

Brawling Master Skills

Whirlwind Strike
– This master, trained in Triple Strike, has reached apotheosis; each attack made in melee strikes all enemies in reach. This does mean that the master may exploit the defensive weaknesses of lesser foes crowding him to make multiple attacks which also hit an equal or greater foe – a feat which Dual and Triple strike did not allow.

– This master, trained in Dual Shot, has learned that even the most skilled defender has little chance against an arrow from afar. The brawling passive applies to ranged attacks against enemies of any hit dice for this fighter.

Killing Novice Skills

Steady Hand
– This represents the training to consistently strike the same spot over and over. A fighter with this training halves penalties for called shots.

Strike Deep
– All armor can be pierced, from the right angle, with the right pressure. This training in penetration allows the fighter to halve the (non-magical) defense benefit of enemy armor.

Reckless Attack
– Sometimes there is advantage in foregoing caution. This fighter can accept up to his level in penalty to defense in return for the same amount of bonus to damage.

Killing Student Skills

Painful Blows
– Striking pressure points for pain instead of trying to kill, this fighter can forego rolling damage with an attack to instead inflict a -2 penalty to actions and defense on the opponent struck.

Exploit Opening
– For every -1 penalty to defense an opponent is suffering, this fighter gets +1 damage against that opponent.

Bleeding Wound
– When rolling damage, instead of inflicting all of it at once, the fighter may opt for half damage and a bleeding wound. The wound will bleed for 2 damage each turn, for a number of turns equal to the amount of damage actually dealt.

Infected Wound
– When striking an injured enemy, the fighter knows where to strike to cause internal injuries to infect each other. This sort of attack deals half damage, but forces the opponent to save; failed saves result in sepsis, gangrene, or other infection appropriate to the wound location.

Poisoned Weapon
– There are few methods more sure to kill than lacing a weapon with poison. This fighter knows how to do so without risking herself. Any hit from a poisoned weapon requires a save against the poison’s effects.

Killing Advanced Skills

Heart Pierce
– With a called shot, using a stabbing or cutting weapon, the fighter may instantly kill any creature with a heart, if the attack does damage. The creature may save, and live on a success.

Heart Stop
– With a blunt weapon, this fighter may cause a creature with a heart to go into a coma if an attack to the torso does damage. The creature may save to retain consciousness.

– With a blunt attack to the head, this fighter may stun any target with a brain if the attack does damage.

Brain Pierce
– Attacking the head with a sharp weapon, this training allows a fighter to kill the target with any damage on a failed save if the target has a brain.

Skull Crush
– If the target has a brain, then a successful attack to the head with a blunt weapon and this skill allows a permanent -2 to all actions to be imposed if damage is dealt. This penalty may be stacked up with further crushing.

Lung Pierce
– If the enemy needs to breathe, then by attacking the torso with a sharp weapon and dealing any damage, the fighter may cause it to take 1 damage per round until it dies or gets medical treatment.

Throat Crush
– On a target which needs to breathe, this fighter may cause it to begin to suffocate with any damaging attack to the throat. The suffocation will continue until it dies or receives medical treatment.

Killing Master Skills

– This attack strikes several nerve clusters, causing intense pain. The total penalty is -10 (halved by Steady Hand) to strike these nerve clusters with one attack. This attack causes no damage, but instead causes total paralysis in the enemy. After 1d4 rounds, the enemy may attempt a save to escape the paralysis, with each failed save extending it by 1d4 rounds. If the fighter re-applies the nerve strikes (requiring no roll against a paralyzed target), then the save timer is reset.

Instant Death
– Any damaging attack from this fighter may be fatal. What seems a slight scratch might have avoided nerves, but opened an artery. An opponent who receives damage from any attack made by this master must save or die, in addition to any other saves provoked by the attack.

Ian Price, author of the Tabletop Treasury posts on this site, is the creator of Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools and Bad Decisions, and has contributed to the Ghouls, Carthians, and Chronicler’s Guide books for Vampire: The Requiem. Bad Decisions has a Kickstarter project live now!