I'm quite a fan of character builds, as are many of my players. The crunch and system bloat that comes with character builds in 3.X, 4e, or 5e, though, is something I, like many in the OSR disdain.
In my system, I feel like I've done a pretty good job keeping the sort of player-facing options that differentiates one person of the same level in a class to another, while not making options that make players more likely to "play their sheet" and not overtly bloat the system. Mystics have their relics and their deities, Sorcerers have their Maleficence, Arcane Tradition Focus, and a unique selection of spells, and the Specialist is a Build-A-Adventurer.
Except for Warriors. Poor Warriors. They get everything at first level and all they do after is check to see if their stats increase and dawdle around waiting to get extra attacks. Of which they have too many. As I currently have them, they get a number of attacks equal to half their level, maxing out at 5 basically, which I'm fine with, and attacks equal to their level against enemies with fewer HD, maxing out at 10, which is too god damn many. But I don't want to take away more options from them, nor their mook killing ability. What am I to do?
Yes, the word is anathema, but hear me out. I present:
THE WARRIOR 2.0
Warriors can attack recklessly or defensively (attack with advantage, defend with disadvantage; attack with disadvantage, defend with advantage).
At every odd level (excepting 1st), a Warrior gets an extra attack
whenever they make an attack action.
Warriors can sunder shields (break their currently equipped shield instead of taking damage).
Warriors have a number of combat die, which are d8s, equal to their current level. They can use one combat die per turn to use a Feat. Combat die replenish after a Warrior takes a long rest.
Warriors start with these Feats;
- SMITE - On a successful attack, you may roll a combat die and add it to the damage.
- GRIT - As a reaction, when taking damage, you may roll a combat die and heal that many hit points.
At every even level, Warriors can learn a new feat from the list below (or devise a feat pending DM approval)
- IMPROVED MANOEUVRE - If you successfully hit when making a combat manoeuvre, you may roll a combat die: the manoeuvre automatically succeeds *and* the creature takes damage equal to the number rolled on the combat die (plus any damage bonuses from current weapons.
- CLEAVE - Expend a combat die: this turn, whenever you reduce a creature to 0 hit points, or land a critical hit, you may make another attack.
- SURGE - Expend a combat die: you may take another action, though this action may not be used to attack.
- COMMAND - Roll a combat die: you can forego one of your attacks this turn and allow one of your allies to attack, with a bonus to the attack equal to the number rolled.
- POWER - Roll a combat die: this turn, all your attacks receive a penalty to hit equal to the number rolled, and receive a bonus to damage equal to twice the number rolled.
- PRECISION - When making an attack, you may roll a combat die and ignore enemy AC equal to the number rolled.
- PROTECTION - As a reaction to an ally that you can being attacked, you may roll a combat die and give the ally a bonus to AC equal to the number rolled for that round.
- DESTROYER -Expend a combat die: this turn, all your damage dice explode on a roll of 7 or 8 (or 6, if improvising, and 4, if unarmed.
- SENTINEL - Expend a combat die: this round, whenever an enemy enters your combat range, or attacks an ally, you may make an attack of opportunity without using your reaction.
- BULWARK - Expend a combat die: this round, all enemy attacks (or any abilities that target one creature) must target you. If they do not, the enemy must Save or lose their attack.
- INDOMITABLE - As a reaction upon failing a save, you may roll a combat die and re-roll the save, with a bonus equal to the number rolled.
- EVASION - Roll a combat die: this round, while moving, you have a bonus to your AC equal to the number rolled.
- ASSESS - When you encounter a creature or the signs of a creature, as an action you may roll a combat die to make an INT or WIS test with a bonus equal to the number rolled on the combat die. You may then ask the DM a number of questions equal to your level about the creature.
- SLAYER - Roll a combat die: this turn, your crit range is increased by the number you rolled on the die (e.g. if your STR is 15 and you rolled a 5, you crit on a 10-15).
- EXERTION - Roll a combat die: This turn, you may make as many attack rolls as you wish, but each attack roll you make past your normal amount causes damage equal to the number rolled on the combat die (goes past AP directly to HP).
I'm happy with these feats. They seem tactical, but simple, and the limited use of them (1 a turn, up to level per day) should still keep combat brisk and not force a reliance on them, while still giving players who rolled Warriors meaningful choices in play.