Afternoon of the Wolf
Warrior Strategy Guide
The warrior class does three things really well: economical close-quarters damage, reliable damage reduction and heavy lifting. Of all the classes they seem the easiest to play and build – most of your abilities are different flavours of “punch them in the face”, with some crowd control. Generally you can build to emphasise damage (Berserker), defence (Hangry Hippo) or crowd control (Insult Fighter).
Obviously you need at least d10 str, d12 is a bit overkill and leaves you with nothing to do if there’s no one to punch and nothing to lift. Seriously even if you’re not interested in dual-classing at all, you want at least one skill outside of your focus – Sense/Obs are cheap and go a long way. Though the optimal secondary (d10/d8) is Int. This powers Taunt – your best defence against an evil DM hitting your squishies – lets you run Observation effectively (which can pair with Initiative, for a positioning advantage), which in turn lets you run social skills (Warriors, esp. wolves, tend to have some spare Ability points). Reason or Intimidate are the most efficient choices, and lead to a sort of “soldier/tactician” feel, which is a good lead into taking “Leadership” eventually. There’s also the professional/craft style skills, with several requiring Obs:int in at least some aspect.
If not or in addition to Int, Dex is the next best thing – slight improvement of HP aside (negligible) it helps Sprint for greater utility, can work with Initiative just as Int does, and when the movement rules get figured out a bit more it’s going to be important for tactical positioning. Especially since all your offensive power is close range, you need to be able to get to business range quickly.
Faith is the least useful for Warriors unless you’re dual-classing with a magic discipline. That said, going Int or Fai is important for insulating yourself against effects based on MP totals – most of them can put you out of action if you succeed, and for a tank that’s quite bad. If you went Dex or you’re worried, throw some of your synergy bonus into MP.
Spend your exp wisely – Attack and Block are essential skills for you and they come quite costly, at 5 and 4 respectively (all following Endurance and Attack, with the exception of Lunge). As a result, your basic attack is always going to be slightly more potent than the attack variants (eg: Cleave, Bloodlust), so plan accordingly. You’ll want to pick up at least a few of them to round out your synergy bonus, but don’t spread out too far – it’s unlikely you’ll use all of them. I’ll run through the list.
Attack: As I said before, your bread and butter. You do reliable damage here, but because it’s so expensive if you pump it to the exclusion of all else you won’t have enough synergy to raise your Keep dice. If you’re tanking, expect to use this a lot.
Block: The best defence skill, as it’s guaranteed to reduce damage on all but the most abysmal rolls. If you’re doing your job, you’re soaking a lot of attacks that everyone else will stress about rolling over, even if they’ve got a few more levels. It makes you feel like a badass, too. It’s one of the few defences worth spit against a Berserk warrior, but on the downside it’s useless against rat swarms. Added bonus, as a Wolf if you come up against silver weapons, you really want to be able to negate those deep wounds because they wind up draining more resources in the long run.
Berserk: Gonna go ahead and say this skill is just too good. That double damage, especially buffed, is going to crush anyone but a dedicated warrior tank (esp. dwarf or goblin in good gear with a shield, or certain demons) or a Life Fielded Necro (who is lucky enough to only be made useless for the duration) in one or two hits. There’s no penalty to using it too early, though you’ll obviously want to pop it once you get in close and buffed for maximum carnage. Just don’t use it too late or it’ll eat up party resources putting you down (and there are still so many ways to disable you after that 10MP cost, so any competent party can do it). Make sure your party has a “friendly fire” plan in place. The only real downside is that your tactical options become limited, so in a lot of unusual combat situations (OP enemy, capture objectives, ceasefires) you become a liability, and you can’t do much about rat swarms. But since you do so much damage, it might not matter. It’s a cheap skill so if you do take it, pump it high, and forget most of your other warrior skills (except Attack/Block) because you’re definitely not going to be using them.
Bloodlust: This is a nice skill for boosting health mainly at the expense of attack efficiency and negligible MP cost. Grabbing those extra few HPs can really add up. Don’t use it against strong enemies, esp. tanks, because they’ll have an easier time negating or reducing the damage. In general, if your party has a Healer Necro you probably won’t get much use out of this, and just focus on doing more damage while Block/Regen/Heals keep you going (the best defence is a good offence). On the other hand, it’s one of the cheaper warrior skills (2xp), so it’s good for upping your synergy. If you take it, keep it high – it needs to hit reliably.
Cleave: This has the same problem as Bloodlust – you lose attack efficiency (about 2 dice on average, assuming you keep it as high as possible), and a bit more MP, so any enemies that are liable to block/dodge will have an easier time of it. If they are actually weak enough and can’t tank then it’s a couple of free attacks, more than making up for the penalty. It’s also the only Warrior counter to Rat Swarms, though you only need a couple points in Cleave to pull that off.
Devour: The cheapest warrior skill (1xp) which is probably the best reason to take it, and its prereq Bloodlust. It’s rare that you’ll be low on HP and in a position where you can outheal enemy damage with Devour instead of eliminating the threat, but if most of the damage comes from your party and your healer is overworked, it can be worthwhile.
Lunge: This is a nice one to dip into, especially if you’re already fairly specialised. Its essentially a charge attack with a bonus to damage, and a fair reach (which will matter more once movement rules are settled). Being able to get in quickly is useful, and that damage bonus is going to draw attention. Coordinate it with your allies you could spike an enemy with enough heavy damage on round 1 that they go down before the healer can cast (especially if the healer is the target). It’s fairly cheap, though you don’t need too many points here to make it useful.
Extra HP/Regenerate: I’m not sure what’s going on with these, but if Regen is anything like its old incarnation, it will be expensive, so be satisfied with an extra HP ever 2 or 3 turns.
Taunt: Definitely take this if you went Int as a secondary. 2* MP isn’t easy to hit at the start of combat, but it gets progressively easier, and towards the end of combat when your allies are softening up it’s good to be able to call the heat off them. A middling investment has a good return, as long as you have a good idea of when to use it, and has a fair chance of catching warrior types at the start of combat.
As alluded to above, the abilities open to you depend on what aside from strength you have above d6 or so. Tough Fighter is one of few warrior exclusives and it’s kind of weak – Poison Resistant is a nicer tanky ability, as it reduces pesky deep wounds. Atheist is also tanky, but will make you harder to buff and heal to the point where it’s a bit of a wash and should only be taken for Roleplay purposes. Non-wolves won’t have much freedom here as all of the proficiencies make you better at your job.
With your key skills being expensive I wouldn’t advise taking more than 1 or 2 skills outside of your discipline, not counting basic skills. As a rule, don’t bother going into Rogue – you would need to invest a lot to get good use out of most of their abilities, at which point just spec a Rogue. Really anything where you expect to make an opposed check (eg: any kind of damaging effect) isn’t very useful – Battlemage is almost useless unless you want Divine Arrow as a reliable (but weak) ranged attack. A couple of Mechanist/Trickster buffs and general utility skills are worthwhile, and even a small investment in Void can be useful for dampening enemy spells – if the party is willing to work with you. Necromancy isn’t very useful – skellies/golems require heavy investment and if you badly need a self-heal, take Bloodlust/Devour. Swarm of Rats is doable with a low investment, and a neat concept for some sort of sewer dweller or other rat-themed warrior. Life Field, though expensive (5xp, prereq Heal also 5xp) is fantastic emergency defence if you’re not spending much MP.