More Iron Heroes

About three weeks ago I posted how to incorporate some Iron Heroes Feats. I had put off writing some more partly because I was interested in other matters, but also because the mastery feats often use a token mechanism that I wasn’t sure I wanted to include.

I’d forgotten that my current goal is not to get a perfect game (yet), but to get something that can be taken to the table and played. While I am not a huge fan of the presented token system, it is a usable system. Echelon’s architecture lends itself rather well to replacing systems and subsystems, so I’ll just go with what’s already there and replace it later if I decide I don’t want it.

Token Pools

Iron Heroes uses a token pool mechanic that lets a character build up power in various ways based on his actions and the actions of his opponents. By fighting in a particular manner or causing certain events to happen (which can including making his opponents miss him when they attack) he can accumulate ‘tokens’ of various kinds, which can later be used to increase his ability to fight in that manner.

For instance, a character with the Dodge talent chooses one opponent (or more, at higher tiers) as the focus of the talent. Each time this chosen opponent misses him in melee, the character can add one token to his ‘dodge pool’, which can then be spent to improve his dodge bonus even more (possibly leading to gaining more tokens) or to direct the fight so that dodging causes certain effects (making one opponent ‘accidentally’ attack another) or improving his chances to hit (gain an attack bonus through surprising movement). The options available to a character depend on how far he has developed the talent (maximum tier slot used) and Martial Training Bonus.

A character may have multiple pools, each of which is tracked independently. A character normally need only track the token pools he has access to through his abilities. A character who has only the Dodge talent need track only his Dodge Pool, he can ignore all other token pools. A character is limited to a number of tokens per pool equal to his character level + 10.

Because the pools described in Iron Heroes appear to all be for martial abilities, it might be worth making the maximum tokens per pool equal to his base attack bonus +10 (which for full martial characters is the same thing, but characters with less martial ability would be lower). If the token pool mechanic gets expanded to other character facets (such as magic) then the various magic token pools could be limited the same way. On the other hand, characters with less than full progression in the area are already going to be limited in what they can do with the tokens, and possibly how they can be accumulated, so this might be an unneeded complication. –kjd

Each pool typically only accumulates tokens during a single combat, and all tokens are lost at the end of the fight. Tokens may be lost during a fight if not used, most often when tokens are accumulated against a single opponent and then the target changed. For instance, a character who spends time aiming at a particular target (increasing his Aim Pool against that target) loses all tokens accumulated if he changes target, but otherwise can accumulate more tokens than he can use in a single round, then spend them over multiple rounds as long as he doesn’t change his targeted opponent.

Iron Heroes implements many class abilities and the mastery feats using token pools. Echelon is currently importing the mastery feats more or less directly, but doesn’t have classes. The related class abilities (such as the Berserker’s Fury Pool (also fuelled by the Cleave feat/talent) and the Executioner’s Execution Pool) may each be implemented in Echelon as one or more talents.

Talents Taken from Iron Heroes Mastery Feats

Already done:

  • Cleave
  • Combat Reflexes
  • Improved Bull Rush
  • Overwhelming Presence
  • Power Attack

In this post:

  • Blind Fight
  • Combat Expertise
  • Dodge
  • Two-Weapon Fighting
  • Vorpal Hurricane
  • Whirlwind Attack

Not done yet:

  • Armor Mastery
  • Beast Lore
  • Devious Manipulator
  • Far Shot
  • Foe Hammer
  • Hafted Weapon
  • Healing Lore
  • Improved Disarm
  • Improved Feint
  • Improved Overrun
  • Improved Shield Bash
  • Improved Sunder
  • Improved Trip
  • Manyshot
  • Mobility
  • Mounted Archery
  • Mounted Combat
  • Point Blank Shot
  • Political Mastermind
  • Precise Shot
  • Rapid Reload
  • Rapid Shot
  • Razor Fiend
  • Shield Mastery
  • Shot on the Run
  • Stunning Strike
  • Tactics of the Mind
  • Trident Mastery
  • Venom Mastery
  • War Leader
  • Weapon Finesse
  • Weapon Focus

Blind Fight Talent

Through a combination of keen senses and awareness of your tactical environment, you can strike enemies hidden in thick fog or other obscuring conditions with greater accuracy than most.

Tier MTB Benefit
Expert +1 In melee, every time you miss because of concealment, you can reroll your miss chance percentile roll once to see whether you actually hit.

In addition, an invisible attack gets no advantages related to hitting you in melee. That is, you don’t lose your active bonus to defense, and the attacker doesn’t get the usual +2 bonus for being invisible. The invisible attacker’s bonuses still apply for ranged attacks, however.

You take only half the usual penalty to speed for being unable to see. Darkness and poor visibility in general reduces your speed to three-quarters normal, instead of one-half.

Heroic +3 You gain the benefits of this feat on ranged attacks made against opponents within 30 feet of you. This includes benefits you gain from expanded mastery abilities.
Heroic +4 You can use Listen as a free action each round to locate an invisible opponent. In addition, you automatically locate an invisible person within 5 feet of you. Finally, you may reroll any Spot checks made to notice an opponent, but you must choose to reroll before you learn whether your check succeeded.
Master +6 Your senses are so keen that you ignore any concealment of 20 percent or less. Concealment with a higher miss chance functions without change.
Champion +8 If you spend a full-round action doing nothing but watching an area and listening for signs of an opponent or a hidden object, you may take 20 on both a Listen and Spot check. You gain the benefit of these checks immediately.
Legendary +10 Your senses of position and tactical movement are so precise that you can doggedly follow an opponent. Once you hit an enemy who gains concealment, he loses all concealment miss chance against your melee attacks. You anticipate your foe’s every move and relentlessly attack him, even if the concealment blocks line of sight. However, you gain no special knowledge of the terrain. For example, if a foe with concealment moves behind a wall that you cannot see, you may waste arrows trying to sheet him through the full cover.

Combat Expertise

You handle your weapon with the elegant speed, agility, and skill of a true master. You can step back and bat aside your foe’s attacks with ease or press forward on the attack.

You cannot use this talent with a power weapon.

Tier MTB Benefit
Expert +1 When you use the attack action or the full attack action in melee, you can take a penalty of as much as -5 on your attack roll and add the same number (+5 or less) as an active bonus to your defense. This number may not exceed your base attack bonus. The changes to attack rolls and defense last until your next action.
Expert +2 When you use the attack action or the full attack action in melee, you can take a penalty of up to -5 on your defense and add the same number (+5 or less) to your attacks. This number may not exceed your base defense bonus. The changes to attacks rolls and defense last until your next action.
Heroic +3 You may spend 1 parry token to gain a +1 bonus on melee attacks against the target of your pool. You enjoy this bonus until the end of your current turn. You may only spend tokens in this manner when it is your turn.
Heroic +4 You may spend 1 parry token to grant you or an ally within your threatened area a +1 bonus to defense against attacks made by the target of your pool. You enjoy this bonus until the end of your current turn. You may only spend tokens in this manner when it is your turn.
Master +5 When using Combat Expertise, you may take a penalty to attacks of up to your base attack bonus and gain the same number as a bonus to defense. Otherwise, this feat functions as normal.
Master +6 You may spend 2 parry tokens to make an attack of opportunity against the pool’s target if he attacks you in melee and misses.
Champion +7 If you increase your defense using Combat Expertise, you may spend 4 tokens at the start of your pool target’s action. Should your opponent attack you and miss, he loses his active bonus to defense against any attacks you make during his action.
Champion +8 As a foe attacks, you use a stinging, painful parry to slash back. Every time the target of your parry pool attacks you, you may spend 1 parry token to inflict your weapon’s base, unmodified damage upon him whether he hits or misses. Spending a token in this fashion is not considered an action (you can do it on another’s turn).
Legendary +9 You may spend parry tokens on special effects against any foe, not just your chosen target. You keep the parry tokens you have built up when you change pool targets (until combat ends).
Legendary +10 You gain parry tokens when anyone – not just the target of your pool – attacks you and misses while you use Combat Expertise.

Parry Token Pool

You gain a parry token pool. As a free action you may select an opponent as the target of this pool. When using Combat Expertise to increase your defense, you gain 1 parry token each time the targeted opponent attacks you in melee and misses. You can change the pool’s target as a free action, but in doing so you lose all tokens accumulated against your old target. You can build up tokens in your parry pool in addition to accumulating other token types.

Deflect Missiles

You can parry ranged attacks with the same skill and agility that you use to turn aside melee attacks.

Higher-tier probably should work against spell-derived or massive missiles. Yeah, you could deflect a rock thrown by a giant or launched by a catapult, or an acid arrow. You’re That Good. For that matter, I see no reason why you can only deflect missiles with an empty hand. I’ve seen lots of anime where they get deflected with a sword. And it simplifies thing, so let’s allow deflection (if not reflection) using weapons, too. –kjd

Tier MTB Benefit
Expert +2 You must have at least one hand free (holding nothing) to use this feat. Once per round, when you would normally be hit with a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so as to take no damage from it. You must be aware of the attack and not flat footed.

Attempting to deflect a ranged weapon doesn’t count as an action. You cannot deflect unusually massive ranged weapons and ranged attacks generated by spell effects.

Heroic +4 You can use your Deflect Missiles feat one additional time per round. As with all expanded masteries, you can take this ability only once, to gain the ability to deflect two ranged attacks per round.
Master +6 You can catch a thrown weapon you just deflected and immediately use it to attack the foe who threw it at you. This attack uses one of your attacks of opportunity for the round. Resolve it as a normal ranged attack against your opponent.
Champion +8 You can deflect an additional number of missiles per round equal to 1 + your Dexterity bonus (minimum 1).


You are quick on your feet, allowing you to evade attacks as long as you are aware of them. While other warriors hide behind armor, you duck and weave around attacks.

Tier MTB Benefit
Expert +1 During your action, you designate an opponent and gain a +1 active bonus to defense against attacks from him. You can select a new opponent on any action.

Each time your designated opponent attacks you and misses, you gain one dodge token you may use to evade his attacks. Each time your chosen target attacks you, you can immediately spend 1 dodge token to increase the defense bonus you gain from this feat by +1. Such an expenditure is not considered an action. This increase to your bonus applies only to one attack made by your target.

You can maintain a total number of unspent dodge tokens in your token pool equal to your character level + 10. Tokens beyond this maximum go to waste. Your pool lasts until the end of the encounter. You can build up tokens against one opponent at a time. If you switch targets, you lose the tokens that you have already built up for this ability.

Expert +2 The Dodge feat now grants you a +2 bonus to defense instead of +1. You still gain a +1 increase to this bonus when you spend a dodge token against your foe.
Heroic +3 You may select two opponents, rather than one, against whom you gain your defense bonus. You also build up dodge tokens against both targets and can spend tokens against either or both of them as you wish. If you change one of your pool’s targets, you retain all your tokens. If you change both at the same time, you lose your tokens. You use one pool of tokens against both foes.
Heroic +4 Should one of your dodge pool targets attack you while he flanks you, you may be able to turn the attack against his flanking partner. If his attack against you misses, you can spend 4 tokens to dodge out of the way successfully. This tactic causes him to skewer the ally who helps him create the flank, imposing its result against the ally who creates the flank. You gain no bonus to defense for the 4 dodge tokens spent for this ability, but you can pay additional tokens to increase your defense as normal.

Your foe does not reroll his attack. Note that you decide to spend the tokens after seeing the attack’s results, allowing you to gauge whether the strike has a chance to hit your enemy.

If the two opponents who create the flank are both targets of your dodge pool, you only have to spend 2 tokens to use this ability.

Master +5 You may select three opponents against whom you gain your defense bonus from this feat. You also build up dodge tokens against all three targets and can spend tokens against any or all of them as you wish.
Master +6 When you make a Tumble check opposed by a target of your dodge pool, you gain a +2 bonus to your Tumble check for every token you spend. You can spend as many dodge tokens you wish in this manner.
Champion +7 When a target of your dodge pool attacks and misses you, you may spend 4 dodge tokens on an immediate one-square move. You can use this ability only once per round. If you move out of an opponent’s threatened area, he must either move to keep up with your or choose a different target for the rest of his attacks.
Champion +8 As you weave around your opponent’s clumsy attacks, you set him up for your own devastating counter: dodge to the right to induce him to expose his side, then roll back to the left to score a decisive hit. You may spend dodge tokens to gain a bonus to one attack you make against a target of your dodge pool – you gain a +1 bonus for every token spent. Spend these tokens immediately before resolving your attack, but they count toward only that one strike, not toward others you may have as part of your action. You can spend tokens on other attacks separately if you wish to gain a bonus to each attack.
Legendary +9 As you leap and tumble to avoid your opponent’s attacks, you intentionally time your moves to let him close to hitting. Then, at the last moment, you duck away from harm. If a target of your dodge pool attacks and misses you during his action, he suffers a -2 penalty to the rest of the attacks he makes against you till the end of his current action. These bonus stack with each missed attack. (No tokens are needed for this ability.)
Legendary +10 You gain the benefits of your Dodge feat and the dodge pool against all enemies that you are aware of an can react to.

Two-Weapon Fighting

You can fight with a weapon in each hand, making one extra attack each around with the second weapon.

If you take Two-Weapon Fighting as a Power feat, you can use it with power weapons and weapons that lack the finesse keyword. If you take it as a Finesse feat, you can use it with finesse weapons and weapons that lack the power keyword.

Normally, if you wield a second weapon in your off hand, you get one extra attack per round with that weapon. When fighting this way you suffer a -6 penalty to your primary hand and a -10 penalty to the attack with your off hand. Using a light off-hand weapon reduces the penalties by 2 each; an unarmed strike is always considered light.

Tier MTB Benefit
Expert +1 You reduce your penalties to attack rolls for fighting with two weapons. The penalty for your primary hand lessens by 2, and the one for your offhand weapon lessens by 6.
Expert +2 When wielding a double weapon or two weapons (not including natural weapons or unarmed strikes), you enjoy a +1 shield bonus to your defense.

When you are fighting defensively or using the full defense action, this bonus increases to +2.

Heroic +3 You can distract an opponent with your off-hand weapon or one end of your double weapon. If you use a full attack action but do not use that weapon or end of your double weapon to attack, you gain a +2 bonus to attacks against one opponent you threaten. You gain this benefit until the end of your current action.
Heroic +4 In addition to the standard single extra attack you get with an off-hand weapon, you get a second attack with it, albeit at a -5 penalty.
Master +5 If you score a critical hit with one of your weapons, you increase the critical threat range for your other weapon by 1. As your first attack drives into your foe, you use the leverage of the impact to yank him into a precarious position.
Master +6 When you fight with two weapons or with a double weapon, you cannot be flanked. You use both ends of your weapon, or both weapons, to ward off attacks from multiple directions.
Champion +7 You get a third attack with your off-hand weapon, albeit at a -10 penalty, when using a full attack action.
Champion +8 You can make a special rend attack with your two weapons. If you strike an opponent at once with both weapons, or with both ends of a double weapon, you inflict additional rending damage equal to your primary weapon’s damage plus twice your Strength bonus. When you hit your opponent with both attacks, you rip him apart with both weapons at once.
Legendary +9 When you use the charge action or a standard attack, you gain all of your off-hand attacks with your second weapon or the second end of your double weapon.
Legendary +10 When you use a full attack action, you confuse your opponent with a flurry of attacks from your weapon. For each one that hits, you gain a +1 bonus to your remaining attacks. T his bonus, which stacks with each successful hit, lasts until the end of your current action.

Vorpal Hurricane

You swing your mighty weapon in a deadly pattern, surrounding yourself with flashing steel. Anyone who draws close to you shall feel the bitter sting of your weapon.

This talent may be used with power weapons only.

It doesn’t say so explicitly because it’s probably handled by the Attack of Opportunity rules, but it might be worth mentioning this working against opponents who move through your threatened area rather than just start or finish their turns in it. –kjd

Tier MTB Benefit
Heroic +3 As a full-round action, you whirl your heavy weapon about you in a deadly pattern that lasts until the beginning of your next turn. IF an opponent begins or ends his action in an area you threaten or in a square adjacent to you, you gain an immediate attack against him at your highest base attack bonus. You may attack a given opponent in this manner only once per round. Resolve these attacks at the beginning or end of your foe’s action, as appropriate.

Note that if you do not threaten a foe, you can still attack him with this feat, but you do not gain the normal benefits for attacking a foe from the rear. You do gain these benefits if you threaten your enemy as normal.

Master +6 You may now activate this ability as a standard action, allowing you to move before or after you use it. Remember that you resolve your attacks on your foe’s actions, not during your own. [Wouldn’t this make it meaningless to activate then move, since it doesn’t apply until your opponents’ turns? – kjd]
Legendary +9 You may now activate this ability as a free action. While others rely on armor and shields to ward off attacks, you use your maul, greatsword, or other power weapon to hack down foes before they can strike.

Whirlwind Attack

You attack in a deadly arc, slashing through the horde of enemies that surround you.

Tier MTB Benefit
Heroic +3 On a full attack action, you can give up your regular attacks and instead make one melee attack at your full base attack bonus against each opponent within reach.

When you use Whirlwind Attack, you forfeit any bonus or extra attacks granted by other feats, spells, or abilities.

Master +5 You generate a tremendous amount of power as you swing. Should you miss with one whirlwind attack, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls on the rest of them. This benefit stacks with each miss. You lose this benefit after you have resolved all the attacks you gain from this feat.
Legendary +10 You may use Whirlwind Attack as a full attack action to make your full spread of attacks against each opponent in reach; rather than making simply one melee attack against each foe, you may attempt each attack normally available to you on a full attack (due to a high base attack bonus, feats, and special abilities). You transform into a hurricane of steel, tearing into the enemies’ ranks with deadly abandon.

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