I'm (very slowly, & mostly just in my own head) working out a setting using ACKS. You know, fun stuff like choosing & refluffing classes, monsters, etc. I'm poring over the main ACKS book and the Players' Companion.
I'm having a bit of trouble with the Fighter, but not for the usual reasons people complain about RPG Fighters. I'm totally down with the straightforward, no-frills Fighter class. The problem is somewhat setting-related.
My setting is roughly 'early medieval' in technology and feel - say the late 6th century to the early 11th AD. A lot of the tone draws from Anglo-Saxon/Norse myth and history rather than later medieval stuff. There's a pseudo-Byzantine empire-past-its-prime, a pseudo-Russian enclave of warrior-merchants, and plenty of other folk along the fringes of the main action, plus some S&S vibe as well, but the central area is aiming for the 'Dark Age Germanic' stuff of Beowulf, the Icelandic sagas, etc.
The main advantage of the Fighter over, say, the Barbarian seems to me its access to higher-AC armor, namely Banded/Lamellar and Plate. But putting Beowulf in plate armor would make me drop my monocle in dismay and head for the fainting couch - it just doesn't fit!
I don't see why a character *wouldn't* want to wear the high-AC armor, especially if he belonged to one of the few classes to whom such armor was available. And the armor is really rather cheap, according to the ACKS rules, meaning it can be had pretty soon in a character's career - so it's not even rare.
Thoughts? I don't want to just eliminate plate armor (and one of the Fighter's chief advantages), but I also don't want every Fighter getting kitted out in a full bronze panoply or late medieval suit, either.
One option would be to retain all the standard armor types but just call them different things. Plate could become "heavy mail" or something, etc. It has the advantage of being simple and mechanically viable, but it still might make you drop your monocle and head for the fainting couch.
Another would be to use the class creation system in the Player's Companion to trade down a fighter's Unrestricted armor selection to Broad armor selection (which only allows chain mail and lighter). You could do the same for clerics, paladins, and so on. That would give each class for which such a trade was made a custom power from the class creation system. If you look through them, you might find powers you find thematically viable.
I think Yukiomo's recommendation is spot on. For instance (going with your Beowulf vibe) you might:
1. Drop the Fighter's armor selection from Unrestricted to Broad. That provides one class power at 1st level.
2. Trade off the class power at 1st level for a class power at 5th level and 9th level.
3. At 5th level, the fighter gains a bonus proficiency, either Armor Training, Berserkergang, Combat Reflexes, or Fighting Style.
4. At 9th level, the fighter gains either Command, Leadership, or Inspire Courage.
5. Add Armor Training to the list of Fighter class proficiencies so that players who want to be "heavy infantry" from 1st level can do so by selecting it as their class proficiency.
Technically this should increase the fighter's XP cost slightly but I would leave it be since it's controlled for the specifics of your campaign.
Ahhh, I like it! Many thanks.
I have looked through the class-building stuff in Players Companion, but haven't gotten comfortable/confident with it yet. This is inspiring me to give another hard look at turning the Bard into more of a skald...