Thursday, December 1, 2022

DF Rules Tweak - Should Higher Purpose give per-die bonuses?

One issue with Holy Warriors in DF is that the other fighter-types, generally, do better against undead or demons than they do. A Knight or Swashbuckler with Weapon Master exceeds them in skill and damage, even against those the who the Higher Purpose applies. Barbarians do so much raw damage that they exceed the Holy Warriors as well.

One solution is to allow Holy Warriors to have Weapon Master. Sure that'll work.

But another idea I had is to make Higher Purpose do per-die damage bonuses. So a Holy Warrior with Higher Purpose 3 vs. undead would have +3 to hit, +3 to defend, and +3 per die to damage. A ST 13 Holy Warrior with a Fine Broadsword would do 2d+7 to undead.

You could allow this to stack with Weapon Master if you are a glutton for such things. Or just allow this instead.

I haven't tried this but I like how it plays out in my head, so far.


  1. I think this idea is great. I kinda feel like a scaled back WM would be appropriate and not punch the other warriors’ niches. Maybe -4 for successive attacks, -3 for multiple parries, and +1 per die damage bonuses. I haven’t given much thought to it so it may be a silly idea.

    1. I'd hate to create a halfway version of Weapon Master just to avoid giving these guys Weapon Master.

  2. IDK man... I feel that if a HW just focuses in on ST or weapon skill (and takes Weapon Master) the way a Knight does, they're just as uber as a Knight... which is, as you're kinda pointing out, sort of the problem.

    For me I added "+1 to DR versus" and "all bonus damage from Higher Purpose is 'Holy'*" that feels pretty balanced to me. I can see doing it as +1 per die for damage, especially if the complaint is "HWs can't //kill// their foes as fast as everyone else", for me I just wanted them to //deal// with (aka survive and overcome DR of) their foes better than everyone else.

    * I also had to add DR not versus Holy and some Weakness to Holy into a bunch of stereotypically "supernaturally" Evil foes, but I felt it worked well. Made some demons, devils, fae, undead, etc a bit tougher to non-Religious professions, but I liked the way it worked out.

    1. A very slight variation on this is to include the effects of the Protection from Evil spell (+1 DR, +2 Magic Resistance) to each level of Higher Purpose. This is innate and if a Cleric wants to cast PfE on them for 5 energy, and they have Higher Purpose 3, heck yeah, that's (temporarily) +8 DR and +16 Magic Resistance.

      An intermediate case for Higher Purpose might be to take the Wrestling approach, with (say) +2 ST per level, so that you hit harder (up to 6 points for swinging attacks), but you don't run into +5 per die issues with WM + HP3.

    2. It's not defense, but offense, that I find Holy Warriors lacking in. They just aren't as effective against their chosen foes. Non-HWs will butcher undead and demons better than HWs do. So I'm reticent to say the issue is that they should be even more defensive. A +3 to active defenses and a +3 to resistance rolls is already pretty useful.

      I like your solution, evileeyore. It's probably more work than I'd want to do as a mid-game change but it's a good way to start. So for me, expanding the damage bonus seems like the most potentially easy way to make HWs more effective without so much work on my part.

  3. I actually do not understand your math here. If I remember correctly, the cheapest version of WM costs 20 points, so it is fair to compare it with 4 levels of Higher Purpose. WM allowes you to attack 2 times with -3 each and with +4 to damage on ST13+ swings (or +6 on ST17+ swings, but +2 on thrusts). Higher Purpose 4 allowes you to attack 2 times with -2 (-6+4) each and with +4 to damage, so it is generally a bit better then WM. It also gives you +4 to defences, wich is also better then WM's reduction of penalties. And it probably should give bonuses on Feint rolls, resistant rolls, Leadership rolls and so on.
    Also if you buy more costly wersions of WM, your bonuses will not increase, while if you can buy more Higher Purpose, your bonuses will be higher.
    In my opinion, if you want make Higher Purpose more effective, it is probably better to rid of division between "fight demons" and "fight undead" and change it to "fight Evil". The destinction between demon-fighting Holy Warriors and undead-fighting Holy Warriors seems odd to me.

    1. "In my opinion, if you want make Higher Purpose more effective, it is probably better to rid of division between "fight demons" and "fight undead" and change it to "fight Evil"."

      That's not a bad idea either... in Basic, Higher Purpose benes a broader swath of skills. Theoretically it does in DF as well, however, I find in most "old school" DF games (that I've read and played in) the Higher Purpose bonus tend to only be used for to-hit, damage, and resistance, no other real skill usage. So it loses some of its broader prupose.

      So comboing it into vs "Evil Supernatural" and then defining that as "Undead, Demons" (and whatever works for in your game) might edge that 'punch' up a bit.

      I have a Holy Warrior in a game that has HP vs three different groups and is aiming for a fourth to be added (or was, work has kept me from playing fro months) and I know that that cost of "15, soon to be 20, exp/level" is starting to feel hefty.

      However in that game I get a lot of use out the Hidden Lores as well as the to-hit, damage, and resistance, so the bene to those skills has been nice.

    2. I don't think I did any math. I'm not looking for a point equivalency between Weapon Master and Higher Purpose. I'm looking for a way to potentially juice up Holy Warriors so they aren't offensively weak against their chosen foes compared with other PC templates. And Weapon Master is underpriced for the benefits, frankly, especially given the ease of getting base 3e swing in DF.

      I do like the idea of Higher Purpose (Fight Evil) and having it work against anything with "Truly evil." That would leave off mindless undead (oops), but it would include Elder Things and whatnot. It's a question whether that is only 5/level, though, as that is a very large group of foes compared to only undead or only demons. I'd consider making it 10/level, covering all Evil, and including the per die damage bonus. I would be less likely to let that stack with WM, but I also generally don't allow HWs to get WM anyway.

  4. Perhaps allow a discounted form of WM that is "against chosen foes only"?

    I will say that in my games I just give them access to WM (One Weapon) because it's such a leap in power.


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