From the playtest packet, I’m inclined to think that 5E has cribbed a lot from ACKs, but I did find a few ideas in the massive uproar that is the flaming forest of edition trolls known as RPG.net that might make ACKs even more interesting for those for whom B/X doesn’t do the fighter justice. So here are a few proficiencies that might be useful for grabbing some of the naysayers (and I might even use some of them myself):
Death Dealer (F)
So long as the fighter rolls above his Base To-Hit and is able to damage his target, even if the fighter fails to hit the target’s AC, he still does his damage bonus in hits.
Crippling Blow (F)
If you roll a natural 20 when attacking an enemy with less Hit Dice than your level, it immediately takes a Mortal Wound without having to be reduced to 0 HP.
Deflect Strike (F)
You may subtract your level from the D20 result of any Mortal Wound.
Attribute Training (G)
You may raise one of your Attributes by 1 permanently.
So what do folks think about these little additions? Too much? Too little? Just right?
Of these, I think I would consider allowing Crippling Strike. The fact that it only triggers on a 20 against a monster with fewer HD means it might actually be balanced against the fact that it’s likely an insta-kill (or at least a serious reduction in effectiveness).
Death Dealer is somewhat complicated by Cleaving - if you kill with Deathdealt damage, can you cleave? There’s also the problem that your expected increase in damage stacks with say Fighting Style (Two-Handed), thereby increasing the maximum achievable expected damage and resulting in power inflation.
Deflect Strike is ridiculously good. 14th level characters with +14 is just… nuts. Even +4 on a 4th-level character would be “too good not to take”, if the amount of concern about hiring a healer henchman for the +2 in my game is any indication. I would be more inclined to do something like the Barbarian’s toughness class feature as a fighter proficiency, where you can roll twice and choose between them. This increases your expected outcome without changing the maximum or minimum outcomes possible.
Finally, I think Attribute Training would likely be another of those " Situationally too good not to take" type things, especially if applied to one’s prime req on a 12, 15, or 17 for modifier or XP gains. Then there’s weirdness with Int-boosting; if you have Int 12, 15, or 17, you could take Attribute Training (Int) as your 1st-level general prof, gain +1 Int and another general proficiency, generating a ‘free’ increase in your Int modifier since the cost of one general prof is defrayed by the free one from Int. This could be exploited to get an extra roll for spells for 1st-level mages, or an extra language at no cost for other characters whose Int is one of those target numbers. It also needs a stacking clarification; if you can stack it, then it really has issues.
Mmmm. I don’t like deathdealer (damage on a miss gah) but that’s personal. Indeed there is much controvery about auto-damage-on-a-miss over at the en-world-boards. otherwise what jedavis said. Concerning number of spells (what dracones said): although i like the toned down power of older versions of DnD, i never liked the one-spell-thing and have houseruled, that the spellcasting-attribute-bonus (if any) is added to first level spells (INT for MUs and WIS for clerics).
Death Dealer (F): So long as the fighter rolls above his Base To-Hit and is able to damage his target, even if the fighter fails to hit the target's AC, he still does his damage bonus in hits.
APM: One major problem here is that a spellcaster's spell is disrupted if he takes damage. Death Dealer means that fighter can disrupt 100% of an adjacent enemy spellcaster's spells, regardless of AC or protection.
Crippling Blow (F): If you roll a natural 20 when attacking an enemy with less Hit Dice than your level, it immediately takes a Mortal Wound without having to be reduced to 0 HP.
APM: I like this one a lot.
Deflect Strike (F): You may subtract your level from the D20 result of any Mortal Wound.
APM: I like this one, but +1/level is too much. I say that the fighter can modify the result of a Mortal Wound roll by his fighter damage bonus from the result of a Mortal Wound - so that would be +1 at 1st level, going up to +5 by max level.
Attribute Training (G): You may raise one of your Attributes by 1 permanently.
This would be fine as a class feat, but it's way too powerful to be a general feat. If I have an INT 18, I'm getting 4 general feats at 1st level!
Crippling Strike: Yeah, I like it as an alternative to boring old ‘you do 2X damage’ although that is also possible if you take that proficiency as well.
Death Dealer: I’d say that you don’t get cleave unless you actually hit. The damage called by death dealer should really reflect endurance loss/ fatigue, small bruises and cracked bones from blows that didn’t quite penetrate armour, or a simple loss of fighting spirit in the face of a vicious onslaught. Probably need to add that to the flavor text.
Deflect Strike: Yeah, but I was figuring that you will be taking a lot of damage under 0, the higher you go. But now that I look at the modifiers for Mortal Wounds again, the max negative is -5. So how about half your level? I want to keep it different from the Barbarian proficiency.
Attribute Training: Hmm… I can think of many possible fixes, like not allowing it to be taken at chargen, limiting it to only those attributes that are prime reqs for your class, etc. but then it becomes a bit too complex for a proficiency. Any ideas?
There are a lot of folks in the 5E crowd that like exactly the same things in 5E that are already in ACKS, and HP inflation is one of the things they don’t like. I think it would be easy to convert some of these folks to ACKS…