Echelon Draft Martial Talents

I’ve described the basic framework for Echelon character and monster development, but haven’t done much to describe the talents that go into the slots.

I will be doing a series of articles describing various character facets such as combat, spellcasting, and skill use. I’ll start with some martial talents since they are easy to describe and to understand.

Martial Training

Martial Training drives the Martial Training Bonus, which is added to the Level Bonus to get the Base Attack Bonus.

Remember that upgrading a talent replaces the lower-tier talent, so Heroic Martial Training supersedes Expert Martial Training to give you +2 to your Martial Training Bonus. However, Martial Training and Improved Martial Training are two different talents and their effects are combined.

Martial Training

Tier Benefit
Basic Basic proficiency with all weapons and light armor.
Expert +1 to Martial Training Bonus.
Heroic +2 to Martial Training Bonus.
Master +3 to Martial Training Bonus.
Champion +4 to Martial Training Bonus.
Legendary +5 to Martial Training Bonus.

Improved Martial Training

Improved Martial Training expands on Martial Training to provide a greater Martial Training Bonus. At each tier it has as a prerequisite the Martial Training talent taken at or above the same tier.

Tier Benefit
Expert +1 to Martial Training Bonus.
Heroic +2 to Martial Training Bonus.
Master +3 to Martial Training Bonus.
Champion +4 to Martial Training Bonus.
Legendary +5 to Martial Training Bonus.

Weapon Focus

Good attack bonus is only part of total combat ability; you should also probably know how to use your weapons properly. The Basic Weapon Focus talent takes care of that.

Basic Weapon Focus

Prerequisite: Basic Martial Training

Benefit: Choose one weapon group (swords, axes, and so on). You are properly trained in the use of and differences between the weapons in this group and can use them to full normal effect.

Improvement beyond this point is done using combat styles because how the weapons are used determine the benefits and improvements gained and can lead to extraordinary (and even supernatural) effects.

Other Talents

The following talents are adapted from Tome feats. They are very much draft talents and subject to change because some of the fundamental benefits gained in certain levels don’t really apply in Echelon, and Tome works on different-sized tiers than Echelon so things don’t quite align. I am only quickly adapting a selection of Tome feats so the work is not complete, and frankly they are not a great fit for Echelon, but they should be indicative of what the talents might look like.

These are martial talents, and as such have as a prerequisite Martial Training at the same tier.


You are remarkably effective moving and shooting things.

Tier Benefit
Basic Penalties for using a ranged weapon from an unstable platform (ship or moving horse) are halved.
Expert Shot on the Run: You may take a standard action to attack with a ranged weapon in the middle of a move action, taking some movement before the attack and some movement after. This still counts as your standard and move actions for the round.
Heroic You suffer no penalties for firing from an unstable platform.
Master You may take a full round action to take a double move and make a single ranged attack from any point during your movement.
Champion You may take a full round action to run a full four times your speed and make a single ranged attack from any point during your movement. You retain your Dex bonus to AC while running.
Legendary As Champion but you can take your full set of iterative attacks, each at any point during your run.

Mage Slayer

You have trained long and hard to kill magic users. Maybe you hate them, maybe you just noticed that most of the really dangerous things in the world are magic.

Tier Benefit
Basic You get Spell Resistance 5+character level.
Expert Damage you inflict is considered ‘ongoing damage’ for the purpose of Concentration checks made before the beginning of your next turn. All your attacks in a round against the same target are considered the same source of continuing damage.
Heroic Creatures cannot cast defensively in your threatened area.
Legendary When a creature uses a [Teleportation] effect within medium range of yourself, you may choose to be transported as well. This is not an action.

Phalanx Fighter

You fight well in a group.

Tier Benefit
Basic You may take attacks of opportunity even while flatfooted.
Expert Any Dodge bonus to AC you gain is also granted to any adjacent allies as long as you benefit from the bonus and your ally remains adjacent.
Heroic An opponent who charges you provokes an attack of opportunity. This attack is considered to be a ‘readied attack’ for purposes like setting weapons against a charge.
Master You may attack with a reach weapon as if it were not a reach weapon. Thus, a medium creature can threaten creatures 5′ and 10′ away with a reach weapon.
Legendary You may take an Aid Other action once per round as a free action and provide double normal bonuses for this action.


  1. hadsil

    I’m not seeing the benefit Weapon Focus gives.

    I’m leary of allowing Spell Resistance at 1st level. It’s not much, but it still looks like an Everyone Would Take it ability.

  2. In my Weapons Guidelines article ( most weapons are pretty similar if you only have basic training. A longsword (one-handed weapon) does d6 20/x2 damage. With proper training (Weapon Focus) it takes you to d8 19-20/x2 — somewhat better. That perhaps is not very evident in this post.

    Originally ‘Weapon Focus’ lead to Expert, Heroic, etc. versions of it, but I realized that it might be desirable to have different paths once you learned to use it competently, so I switched to ‘Combat Style’.

    In any case, Weapon Focus lets you go from ‘can be trusted to not cut off own thumbs’ to ‘actually knows what he’s doing’, which is represented by having different characteristics of use for the different weapons.

  3. As for Spell Resistance, I agree on both points. These talents are still in heavy draft form, having been taken from another source, and are mostly there so you can see the shape of what talents can do. It would be better if I had talents such as I actually expect to see in play, but I don’t know that that’s necessary just to get a feel for how they work.

  4. dalamb

    Would the Mage Slayer spell resistance bonus be better at a higher tier, with things like the anti-concentration be lower? Would some of the benefits of the CArc mage slayer feats make sense? CArc also reduces caster abilities for each feat in the chain.
    basic: ongoing damage
    expert: no defensive casting
    heroic: ignore AC from spells, spell-like abilities
    master: ignore effects like blur, mirror image
    champion: follow a teleport
    legendary: spell resistance, more reduction

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