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Fighter Preview, Part 2
Ampersand Special: The Essential Classes
by Bill Slavicsek

Hi. This is another of our special free-to-all editions of my regular column. I’m talking about our Dungeons & Dragons Essentials products throughout this month and next. As you read this, I’m at Gen Con with a bunch of my R&D staff. If you happen to be in the area, drop by and say hi. And watch our website for continuing coverage of our events and seminars direct from the show.

This time out, let’s take a look at the second new fighter build—the slayer. Note that I’m only showing a little bit of the 1st-level slayer. Check out Heroes of the Fallen Lands for the complete class build when it debuts in September.

The Essentials Fighter

Martial Striker: Fighters such as the slayer use overwhelming force to take down enemies. The slayer’s use of heavy armor and a large amount of hit points allow the slayer to stand in for a defender when the tide of battle requires it.

Why This Is the Class for You: You like playing a tough character who possesses unmatched defenses and a decent amount of offense.


Key Abilities: Strength, Dexterity

When tales are told of the most legendary warriors, slayers are the heroes those stories speak of. Slayers are elite shock troops, standing at the forefront of battle with a combination of strong armor, advanced tactical cunning, and a mastery of withering two-handed weapon attacks.

On the borderlands of civilization, the common folk are beset on all sides by a multitude of foes. Goblin invaders can outnumber a town’s defenders five to one, and powerful giants and trolls can easily shrug off a spear thrust or a crossbow bolt. The slayer is trained to correct this imbalance. By pairing the heaviest melee weapons with fearless combat tactics, a slayer can score deadly blows against larger enemies or hew through mobs of lesser foes.

Slayers come from all backgrounds and societies. Some are warriors with only the most basic training, relying on raw fury and instinct to overwhelm their enemies. Others might be former soldiers whose homes have been destroyed like so many others on the borderlands, and who have sworn to use their martial skills for vengeance.

The slayer combines the best traits of a defender and a striker, with superior defenses backed by devastating weapon attacks. This class grants heavy armor proficiency and plenty of hit points, making a slayer the ideal warrior to stand at the front line of battle.

Class Traits
Hit Points: You start with hit points equal to 15 + your Constitution score. You gain 6 hit points each time you gain a level.
Bonus to Defenses: +2 to Fortitude
Healing Surges per Day: 9 + your Constitution modifier
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, scale
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged
Class Skills: Athletics (Str), Endurance (Con), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Streetwise (Cha)
Trained Skills: Three from the list of class skills

Total XP Level Feats Known Class Features and Powers
0 1 1 Heroic Slayer
Weapon Talent
Fighter stances
Power Strike
1,000 2 +1 Utility power
2,250 3 Improved Power Strike
3,750 4 +1 Ability score increase
Quick Swap
5,500 5 Mighty Slayer
7,500 6 +1 Utility power
10,000 7 Extra fighter stance
Weapon Specialization
13,000 8 +1 Ability score increase
16,500 9 Inexorable Slayer
20,500 10 +1 Utility power

Level 1: Heroic Slayer

Although other warriors might focus on defense or fancy maneuvers, you have trained from your first day of combat to cut your foes down without mercy.
Benefit: You gain a bonus to the damage rolls of weapon attacks. The bonus equals your Dexterity modifier.

Level 1: Weapon Talent

As a fighter, you have insight into all types of weapons and the ability to use them with deadly effect.
Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus to the attack rolls of weapon attacks.

Level 1: Fighter Stances

Fighters learn a number of stances—special powers that combine positioning, footwork, and combat tactics to maximum effect. A stance allows you to customize your approach for fighting different enemies. For example, duelist’s assault lets you unleash your full fury against foes that try to slip away, while mobile blade lets you excel in the thick of the fight, moving freely to take on a different enemy each round.
Benefit: You gain two of the following powers of your choice.

Berserker’s Charge
Subtle shifting and skirmish tactics work for some, but you prefer to make your movement in combat count. You have trained to unleash the full fury of your combat style in devastating charge attacks that let you lay waste to your foes.

Berserker’s Charge
Fighter Utility
You channel your combat fury to run down your foes.
At-Will Martial, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You assume the berserker’s charge stance. Until the stance ends, you gain a +2 power bonus to your speed when charging and a +2 power bonus to the attack rolls of your charge attacks.

Unfettered Fury
Other warriors try to control their rage out of the fear that it will compromise their careful training. You prefer to embrace your berserker fury, gladly sacrificing accuracy in combat to take out lightly armored foes with crippling attacks.

Unfettered Fury
Fighter Utility
You embrace your inner fury, hitting fast and hard to mow through your foes.
At-Will Martial, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You assume the unfettered fury stance. Until the stance ends, you take a –2 penalty to attack rolls with weapon powers and gain a +4 power bonus to the damage rolls of basic attacks using a weapon.

Level 1: Power Strike

Power strike is a quintessential exploit. This power is usable with a wide range of tactics and a variety of weapons. The exploit ensures that your weapon has a devastating effect on your foe.
Benefit: You gain the power strike power.

Power Strike
Fighter Attack
By pushing yourself beyond your normal limits, you unleash your full wrath against a foe.
Encounter Martial, Weapon
Free Action Personal
Trigger: You hit an enemy with a melee basic attack using a weapon.
Target: The enemy you hit
Effect: The target takes 1[W] extra damage from the triggering attack.

Next Week

Next week, I’ll bring back news from Gen Con, as well as show off the first bits of the Rules Compendium. Until then …

Keep playing!

In Case You Don't Know Him

Bill Slavicsek's gaming life was forever changed when he discovered Dungeons & Dragons in 1976. He became a gaming professional in 1986 when he was hired by West End Games as an editor. He quickly added developer, designer, and creative manager to his resume, and his work helped shape the Paranoia, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Torg roleplaying games. He even found some time during that period to do freelance work for D&D 1st Edition. In 1993, Bill joined the staff of TSR, Inc. as a designer/editor. He worked on a bunch of 2nd Edition material, including products for Core D&D, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Planescape. In 1997, he was part of the TSR crowd that moved to Seattle to join Wizards of the Coast, and in that year he was promoted to R&D Director for D&D. In that position, Bill oversaw the creation of both the 3rd Edition and 4th Edition of the D&D Roleplaying Game. He was one of the driving forces behind the D&D Insider project, and he continues to oversee and lead the creative strategy and effort for Dungeons & Dragons.

Bill's enormous list of credits includes Alternity, d20 Star Wars, The Mark of Nerath Dungeons & Dragon novel, Eberron Campaign Setting, the D&D For Dummies books, and his monthly Ampersand (&) column for Dragon Magazine.

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