Second, and onto the topic at hand, a confession: I'm an ascending armour class guy. I've never liked descending armour class. Not even once. It makes no sense to me in a game where "plusses" mean good things, and the fact that a shield +1 actually reduces AC is just all sorts of counter-intuitive.
There. I said it. If you want to take me to task for it, feel free to post in the comments section, but I'm telling you right now that you're gonna have to piss nickels before descending AC makes sense to me.
I mention all this because I like that Swords & Wizardry (4th printing) gives you the option of choosing which flavour of AC you want to use, and the way it presents AAC makes rolling to-hit very easy and potentially chartless and fast.
But I am noticing some... opportunities for my OCD to take charge in the area of to-hit bonuses by class. What strikes me is that the progression (1) is non-linear, (2) doesn't differentiate class enough for me, and (3) seems too powerful at higher levels.
Here are some working assumptions about how classes fight:
- Fighters get the best to-hit bonuses, ever. Because they're fighters. S&W reflects this, though the non-linear progression doesn't "feel" right to me.
- By contrast, thieves and magic-users are the worst at fighting, though I'd like to differentiate them and give thieves a bit of an edge.
- Clerics, as fighting crusaders, should be somewhere in between. But given their spell use and undead banishing, I suggest that they should be farther behind fighters than the Core Rules advises.
|"To-hit" Bonuses by Class|
In summary, fighters get the best to-hit progression: +1 every 2 levels. Clerics are second, with +1 every 4 levels (i.e., they're half as good when it comes to smiting). Thieves are slightly worse, getting +1 every 5 levels; magic-users fall behind that, also gaining +1 every 5 levels, but unlike the other classes, they start at +0.
These values are almost universally lower at all levels than suggested in S&W, but I feel better about the standard progression. One thing you'll note is that clerics and thieves are closely matched at lower levels. I rationalise this by assuming the thief's physical acumen does for him what the cleric's limited martial training does for the cleric. However, at higher levels, the disparity is more pronounced because the thief's combat practice is less disciplined (and probably deprecated in favour of more intense study of all things stealthy).
Next Up, Critical Hits and Hit Locations
Listening To: Talking Heads, Remain in Light