Fighting Styles

[Like last time, none of this is tested yet, its straight from the brain-noggin to the keyboard.]

I've been playing Sekiro. Its super good.

I was playing through and there are some abilities (minor spoilers I suppose) where you can regain your ability to resurrect by performing deathblows (specific kill actions, not just generic kills), and later on you can unlock the ability to regain life and posture by performing deathblows (at least, those are the ones I've found so far).

This got me thinking.

I have this idea for making Fighters a bit more fun without being too complex called (no drumroll please, I stole the name from 5e) Combat Superiority. Here's how it works.

Combat Superiority
As a Fighter, you can have a point of Combat Superiority (maybe two or even three heavens forbid, if you make it high enough level (and it would be very high to get two let alone three considering its intended uses)). You may spend your Combat Superiority to reroll a die to do with combat that involves you, somehow. [i.e. you can reroll your to-hit roll, or an enemy's damage roll, or a saving throw, or something like that]. Once it is spent, you can regain it by taking damage, or by "defeating" an enemy (which usually means "reduce to 0 HP).

That last sentence is the one that would be changed ENTIRELY AND COMPLETELY by my idle thought about Sekiro. What if; THERE WAS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO REGAIN COMBAT SUPERIORITY.

I know, groundbreaking, revolutionary, all that. (please, ladle on all the sarcasm you can muster for that sentence.)

I've been thinking about ways to make combat styles and schools work in a way that isn't just a list of minor abilities and bonuses. That's easy to do, boring to read, hard to balance, and is just... I don't wanna do pathfinder man. Sorry Joe, you'll never convince me. I don't see it.
I mean, its not bad, but I think I can do something better, more elegant.
I want it to evoke the Duel between Iniego and the Man in Black in the Princess Bride where they have a polite little chat about fencing theory whilst fighting each other, using the styles they are that moment using against each other!

So, getting to the point, a Fighter's Fighting Style is made up of methods of regaining Combat Superiority. It (ideally) encourages them to get into situations that their Fighting Style is suited for.

In theory, its elegant because no matter what your "style" is, you're always engaging with a single mechanic.

Your style is good against crowds of weak enemies? You regain CS for being in contact with multiple foes at the start of your turn, and for defeating enemies.

Your style empowers you as you are hurt? You regain CS for taking damage, and when you miss an attack.

Your style is all about parrying and using your foe's momentum against them? You regain CS when a foe misses an attack against you, and when... something else. I dunno.

There'd be some d12/d20 list of ones to roll on, because rolling is good, and you get two to start with. I think that would be fine.

Here's an example;

You regain Combat Superiority when...
1 - You take damage.
2 - You defeat a foe.
3 - An enemy misses you with an attack.
4 - You start your turn next to at least two enemies.
5 - You start your turn next to a friend.
6 - You deal maximum damage with your attack.
7 - You miss an attack against an enemy.
8 - You take the Dash action.
9 - You take the Withstand action.
10 - You take the Set-Up Parry action.
11 - You succeed at a Saving Throw.
12 - You move into favourable terrain.
13 - You attack each enemy for the first time in combat.
14 - You don't move on your turn.
15 - Someone you can see casts, a spell.
16 - A friend you can see takes damage.
17 - You knock an enemy Prone.
18 - You take an alcoholic drink.
19 - You begin your turn with less than 50% of your maximum hit points.
20 - You start your turn out of sight of your enemies.

(or something like that, I ran out of good ideas towards the end maybe)

I think that ideally, each option will get you back CS on most but not every turn. If it is regained by something you do, it should be either tied to a die roll, or an action that doesn't include an attack. Otherwise, you should need to go out of your way somewhat or put yourself in a specific situation to regain it. It shouldn't be easily exploitable. In other words, it should encourage you into certain conditions.

Next time, maybe I'll do Combat Mysteries/Masteries, which would provide other special ways of using CS for further differentiation.


  1. That's damn good! I had a similar idea where the the Fighter can only do a second-attack-per-round (which is a Big Deal if everyone only gets one) when they do certain things with certain weapons. Like, axes getting a second attack when they kill a target (cleave, duh), compared with mauls getting a second against prone enemies, to daggers getting two attacks while grappling (stab stab stab). I think we've struck on the same idea here: getting a pretty ordinary, solid, and understandable ability by doing something out of the ordinary.

    I should do a blogpost on this. Ugh.

    Mind if I add these to Die Trying?

    1. Go for it!
      And I really like your second-attack in certain situations thing, definitely a lot of scope for cool ideas there.
      I was kind of aiming for something where you don't really need to learn any more rules, no matter how high level you get. The difficulty is wringing as much tactical water out of the simplest cloth I think.

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