Thrassian Gladiator - Feedback Requested


In private correspondence, a few playtesters have raised concerns that the Thrassian Gladiator may be over-powered. If you have had a Thrassian Gladiator in your home campaigns, could you post here, with the following info:

1) What was the Thrassian PC's Strength?
2) What was the Thrassian PC's Dex?
3) What was the Thrassian PC's Con?

4) Did the PC fight with his natural weapons or with a sword/axe etc?
5) Was the Judge adding the Thrassian's STR bonus to his natural weapon attacks?
6) Was the Judge adding the Thrassian's Fighter Damage bonus to his natural weapon attacks?
7) What proficiencies did the Thrassian PC select?
8) At what level range did you play?
9) Did the Thrassian PC seem overpowered relative to his comrades?
That'll help me get grounded as to what combo of factors, if any, is producing problems. Thanks.

I wasn’t somebody who emailed you; I have concerns, but they’re all theoretical so far.

Part of my problem is letting kids reorder their stats; one of my sons has a first-level Thrassian with Str 15 / Dex 15 / Con 12. Any 11+ template roll gives him lamellar armor and a shield for AC 10 or 11, when everybody else in the party has AC 3-5. So he’s nearly unhittable in combat, has high HP, and although his saves are poor, at first level any magical threat which could take him out would just as easily take out most other party members.

Rage Claw, to my recollection, had a 16 Str, +1 Dex bonus and +1 or 2 Con bonus (I do let players roll 4d6 drop lowest, and the player’s dice were on fire that day).

He took Berserkergang as his Prof.

He used his Str on Claws and Bite, as well as fighter bonus.
He wore Plate, and quickly got his hands on a +2 cloak of protection (ah, random treasure) and the party didn’t think to let someone else use it. His AC was a 10 before that though. He was basically untouchable and dealt a ridiculous amount of damage.
The main place where there seemed to be some friction was his ability to potentially trigger a cleave off three different base hits.

I’m not sure what would be a ‘fair’ way to fix this. Looking at monsters though, Lizardmen by the book don’t get their strength bonus to their natural weapons (which I think is silly and I give them) but limiting the c/c/b routine to purely base damage… I don’t know.

I did trip him up a few times with things that touching wasn’t wise, or needed magic weapons to hit, but he just eventually carried a magic sword and switched to that as needed. he was a demonstrably less effective fighter when forced to rely on the +2 sword he’d picked up.

I am going to be running a Thrassian Gladiator in Miguel's MapTools game tonight. The Character Builder says my stats are 

Strength: 14

Dexterity: 11

Constitution: 9

I rolled the Prize-Fighter template, and so would have Weapon Focus (sword and dagger)  and Gambling as proficiencies and lamellar armor, but I am going to trade this down to the Beastfighter template and take Skirmishing and Animal Training as proficiencies and chain mail armor. I'll focus on fighting with natural weapons - which the text pretty clearly says get STR and fighter-bonus damage added - and will be playing at first level.

Tywyll: "I'm not sure what would be a 'fair' way to fix this. Looking at monsters though, Lizardmen by the book don't get their strength bonus to their natural weapons (which I think is silly and I give them) but limiting the c/c/b routine to purely base damage... I don't know."

Lizardmen, by the book, do get their strength bonus to their natural weapons. 

ACKS Core: "Lizardmen can attack with bites and claws, or may wield spiked clubs, javelins, and barbed darts (treat as daggers when thrown). Their immense strength grants them a +1 bonus to damage with weapons. Each lizardman gang will be led by a champion with AC 5, 3+1 Hit Dice, and 17 hit points. Due to its strength, the champion will deal +1 damage with its natural attacks, or +2 damage when using weapons. Each lizardman warband will be led by a sub-chieftain with AC6, 4+1 Hit Dice, and 21 hit points, dealing +2 damage with their natural attacks or +3 with weapons."

This probably seems confusing. Why do lizardmen get an additional point of strength adjustment when using weapons? Here's the implicit math:

  1. Lizardmen actually only deal 1d3-1 damage with claws and 1d8-1 damage with bite.
  2. Lizardmean gain a +1 bonus to damage from STR. Lizardmen champion gain +2 bonus to damage from STR. Sub-chieftains gain a +3 bonus damage from STR.

Thus a lizardmen deals (1d3-1)+1 damage with claws, or 1d3, while dealing weapon +1 damage with weapons.

Unfortunately I only got this half-right in the Player's Companion, as I set the Thrassian's natural attack damage as 1d3/1d3/1d8, then added STR and fighter damage bonus on top.






Tavis, for your playtest, could you please use the following rules:

Natural attacks do 1d3-1/1d3-1/1d8-1

Natural attacks cannot be used while wielding a shield or wearing armor heavier than chain.

Yes, that's what I did. Unfortunately due to bugs in MapTools I had to drop out after one fight, in which our party took out a dozen kobolds while suffering only one point of damage (to my gladiator).

My AC in chain + natural hide was as good as if I'd been using the lamellar armor I rolled with my template and had a Dex bonus, so that's within the capabilities of other fighters, and I did still get hit.

This fight confirmed my sense that Thrassians will shine in conditions where they fight low-HP, low-AC foes in great numbers. This will tend to happen more often at lower levels. At higher levels I can imagine situations where I'd switch from using natural weapons to get a better to-hit chance, better maximum damage, or special magic weapon properties.

One thing I did the previous time I played a Thrassian was to imagine that I could use a sword in my hands and still get a bite attack. The text does seem to rule this out, but I overlooked it (based on memories of how 3E does it, probably). That didn't stop that character from joining in a TPK against 14 ghoul-type creatures on the third level of Dwimmermount.