Interesting idea

While playing a series of test encounters I had an idea – why not use the existing classes in all the D&D books?

Allowing unarmed attacks/defenses for everyone and the choice of a kung fu style that provides powers to swaps out with class abilities could work…

For example, here’s the powers of a 3rd level Battlemind:

Battlemind’s DemandMinor, Close burst 3, 1 target is marked. Augment 1: 2 targets.
Twisted Eye: +7 vs. AC, Hit: 2d4+4 and target takes penalty to attacks equal to the number of your allies adjacent to it
Blurred StepTrigger: marked enemy shifts, you shift 1 square to follow them.
Mind SpikeTrigger: marked adjacent enemy attacks an ally and not you. Effect: Target takes damage equal to the damage caused to your ally
Iron Fist: +7 vs. AC, Hit: 2d4+4, Effect: Resist all 3 until end of next turn. Augment 1: gain fire resist 8. Augment 2: +2d4 damage
Bull’s Strength: +7 vs. AC, Hit: 2d4+4 and push target 1 square. Augment 1: Reach increases by 1 for this attack. Augment 2: Close blast 3
Visions of Terror: +7 vs. AC, Hit: 2d4+4 and push target 2 squares. Augment 1: Increase push by 1, and any other pushes until the end of your next turn. Augment 2: After the push, slide any adjacent enemies 1 square.
Battle Resilience: Trigger: an attack hits or misses you. Effect: Gain resist all 6 until the end of your next turn.
Psionic VigorMinor, Gain 6 temporary hit points.
Aspect of Elevated Harmony: +7 vs. AC, hit: 4d4+4. Miss: 1/2 damage. Effect: Spend a healing surge. Enter the elevated harmony state.
—-Augment of Elevated Harmony:you gain 8 temp hit points and the target of the at-will takes 3 extra damage.

All of these powers are perfect for a Guardian; they provide all the defensive, mobility and offensive capabilities required and with merely a description change they would easily fit into the setting. I would see characters of this class glowing with shields of defensive chi and lashing out at their foes with hammering fists and bolts of golden chi. Advanced techniques heal wounds and invigorate the character while increasing melee damage.
The same applies to several other classes – monk, avenger, barbarian, swordmage.

Here’s the other attributes of the Battlemind:

HP: 45
AC: 18 Fort: 16 Ref: 13 Will: 17
Init: +1 Speed: 5
Power points: 4
Weapon damage: 2d4 (Glaive)

There is an assumption that they are wearing heavy armor and using a Glaive that deals 2d4 damage. Iron Shirt and Unarmed Combat could cover this easily. A list of Unarmed Combat weapons and the classes that know them at level one should suffice. Something like this:

Class Best Weapon Proficiency Unarmed Combat max damage
Battlemind Military Melee – 2d6 for 2 handed, 1d10 for 1 handed 2d6
Monk Monk unarmed strike – 1d8, 1d10 with a feat 1d10
Barbarian Military Melee – 2d6 for 2 handed, 1d10 for 1 handed 2d6

Then the existing kung fu styles could be applied to the classes, just as I did with the Warlord for the initial version of the game…

All that would remain of the original ideas for the game are the kung fu styles, chi feats, Iron Shirt and Unarmed Combat. Maybe that is enough to capture the feel of the setting without having to go through a potentially difficult class design process.

There are class features that are worthy of keeping (like the Guardian Soul class feature), but they could be included as part of a kung fu style that substitutes the feature for equivalent Defender class features (Psionic Defence for the Battlemind, Combat Challenge for the Fighter or Swordmage Aegis for the Swordmage are all examples of this).

The more I think about this the more appealing it becomes. I’ll have to check the System Reference Document to see how much existing classes can be referred to (I don’t think much is allowed), but a significant change like this could make the focus of the game totally shift to the setting and special effects (and the kung fu styles), which is really the point of the game.


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