EDIT February 15, 2020 – These rebalanced rules have been fully incorporated into the Realm of Strife ruleset for Focus.
For quite some time we’ve had our eyes on focus classes, unarmed attacks in particular. Fist attacks in particular, have some of the highest damage output at lower levels, simply by virtue of being able to effectively attack 3 times in a round (instant + mainhand + offhand). At level 3 and only 1 Focus you can already have a Focus class easily pushing out 3d8 (3-24) damage, without modifiers. Sure at 1 focus, 20% of the time (glancing blow) that will be minimum damage, but consider also that 50% of the time (Solid or Perfect blow) that will include effects. So for something like Claw Punch a level could easily be pushing up to 9d8 (9-72) damage, without modifiers. Add to this enchants and craftings, as well as fist mounted weapons and the damage sky rockets even further. Builds that focus on increasing minimum damage, only further the issue.
We’ve kind of know for a while that fist attacks are overpowered, even compared to kicks. It hasn’t escaped our attention for example, that in any campaign we’ve involved in, we see the vast majority of people using fists over kicks. This is due in part to the fact that at most you can only kick twice in a round. This would be okay if the damage output of kicks was noticeably better than fists, but with Fist mounted weapons, that’s not really the case.
There is also built in nerf to fists when attacking targets with mail or plate armor, but this is mostly ignored as clunky after the fact rule or rendered not relevant by fist mounted weapons.
Fundamentally, we do want focus classes to be one of the best classes to have around for that situation when the entire party has been captured and dsiarmed. Their fists and kicks are meant to be potentially deadly weapons. But having observed these mechanics at play over the last few years, we think it may be time to reign them in a bit.
The following provisional rules are going to be play tested in the months ahead, and replace the existing rules. If we’re happy with the results, we’ll officially roll them out. Please feel free to leave a comment if you’d like to give feedback of any kind.
The per rank damage of ALL fist attacks has been scaled back by 1d2, therefore:
Fist attacks do 1/2 damage against any target with 30 or more Armor (not AC). This replaces the previous “Glancing blow” rule for targets wearing mail or plate. Fist mounted weapons DO NOT negate this rule any longer.
The per rank damage of ALL kicks has been scaled back by 1d2, but an extra rank will be added to many kicks, therefore:
An new advanced crafting(s) will be added for boots, that increases base damage of kicks in much the same way as fist mounted weapons
Kick attacks do 1/2 damage against any target with 60 or more Armor (not AC).
Kicks no longer count exclusively as a main hand attack, and can now be sued as EITHER a main-hand or off-hand attack, but NOT BOTH. This means focus classes have even more options for combinations of attacks for their actions. Note: using a weapon in two hands still prevents using a kick as part of an action.
Examples of valid actions
- main hand weapon + kick
- kick + off hand weapon
- fist + kick
- kick + fist
- fist + fist
- main hand weapon + fist
- fist + off hand weapon