Okay, title should give enough clues what I am trying to create in RL tabletop group (or perhaps also on E). I know about pathfinder and I love the system but we are playing in pathfinder campaign right now and we want return to our 'roots' so to speak as a group. So stick with 3.5 material (customization is allowed).
Anyways setup is not direct canon borrowing of Romance of Three Kingdoms but rather scenario; a big boss emperor dies and leaves handful of descendants (or stewards) alive whom none he had chosen to be succesor and thus both the native kingdoms and the would-be conquerors outside the main empire start to fight in royal rumble style with each other and each player controls single nation in start and has single PC who is the ruler. Main goal everyone is total conquest (for one reason or another), alliances are possible ofc between PC's or direct PvP (or RvR in most likely; Realm vs Realm).
I have viewed stuff in Heroes of Battle, Powers of Faerun and DMG II about how to run a business and also checked DMG how to generate kingdoms (the NPC kind). It is quite overwhelming to develop a system which handles entirely playing as a ruler but yet does not diminish personal power of the PC and allows play in traditional encounters which have big impacts on nations as whole (besides duelling with another nation's emperor directly which should be rarest of treats). Then handle court intrique which can involve NPC stewards who would try usurp you (and thus create tension for PC's to watch for enemies outside and whitting).
So far I had thought use Heroes of Battle to determine how battles go and how campaigns go. If PC is not present I use % dice in simple system.
If player A has eguiped his soldiers (warriors) with greatswords, breastplates and bucklers (thus giving them AC 16 and had given them training to have Str 14 and having weapon focus with greatswords and so give them attack bonus of +4 or +5 if masterwork greatswords).
Then player B haves archers which have studded leather and short swords (AC 15 because +2 Dex mod and +4 attack mod with longbows but +2 with short swords).
Now, archers firing from max range of 100'ft vs breastplate guys who move 40'ft per round (so they can close in 3 rounds), they get three rolls before enemy engages them. Now to hit breastplate guys the archers need hit AC 16 and they got 40% chance to do so (needing roll of 12 which is 60% of 20). I roll three times d100 and if they hit they automatically make 'average' damage which is 4pts with longbow.
Then in third round breastplate guys charge and have +6 to hit vs archers and they have 55% chance to hit (needing roll 9 from d20). Doing 7pts dmg if they hit. Naturally if attacks hit they cause damage to units and for simplicity sake if opposition is reduced to 0 HP from attack it means the foes rout entirely (each turn when damage is done they roll rout check but in 0 HP it is automatic fail). In case of undead the enemy has been destroyed than routed. Routed enemies roll then % dice how many were lost in encounter (it could be funny if I roll 5% casualties
Also considerign we use 3.5 classes I have though upragde some classes so they are higher in tier (in Tier system for classes
), banning tier 1 and 2 off hand and thus limit magic shehanigans greatly. But to make classes more attractive I say tier 4 should be minimum needed for any class in power wise (and tier 3 is max), so get tier 5 and 6 up to date I have in below suggested 'gestalted' upragdes. Comments or advices would be welcome (and how get Complete Warrior Samurai up to date? Gestalt it with figther?).Battlefield Leader (paladin+marshal gestalt)Combining but unshakable faith on its nation and self, this battlefield leader takes on front lines to lead soldiers in battle and provide them support by power of his charisma and faith (not religion faith, but general faith). Battlefield leaders have many names; Captain, Warchief, Knight Marshal, General. All of these are titles bestowed to those who lead in battlefield and inspire soldiers.
Notes; No divine spellcasting (divine warrior variant, bonus feat every 4th level), Smite replaced with inspire courage class feature (daily use progress same but gaining +2 and +3 depends on ranks in perform[oratory] which is also added as class skill). Does not get summonable animal companion, gets full time animal companion like ranger does (limited to mountable creatures only). Upper side of tier 4 or lower tier 3. Rebuke/Turn Undead remains as it is but it's unrelated to any deity and is more coded as personal philosophy and belief (the leader may take inspiration from deity and be follower of deity). No code of conduct besides remain loyal to own's nation and not have any alignment component to be neutral (and thus have only LG, CG, LE and CE alignment options and all paladin variants are supported in unearthed arcana).
Warrior (knight+fighter or CW samurai+figther gestalt)Warrior is full time career soldier who advances upon battlefield while carrying solid weapon one hand and shield in other hand. He excels in primal combat prowess and also draws enemy fire upon himself and follows rigid code of honor which makes warrior's so much feared foes as they are today in battlefield. Legionnaire, samurai, knight and spartan are all titles given to such warriors.
Notes; Bonus feats should add lot more versatility to knight class which is focused to be a tank (a job it does well). Now they can dish best non-magical damage also and able to specialize in shield use or mounted combat (or otherwise expand their combat tricks greatly). However there is one change;
5th, 10th and 15th level bonus feats are removed, instead replaced with Combat Companion class feature. It gives option of three combat companions; mount, squire/man of arms or combat beast.
If taken mount or combat beast, you get animal companion same way as ranger does (mount is mount and combat beast is any animal which serves no mount purposes but is useful someway in combat or in recon), squire/man of arms other hand is cohort which is -4 levels below you in class level wise (always a NPC class like warrior, aristocrat or even adept or expert).
With changes the class becomes tier 4; it's still specialist in shield use and possibly mounted combat but it does it's job lot better now thanks bonus feats. Also gets a combat companion which can provide support or further versatility.
In case of using samurai+figther gestalts they retain all their class features and also get the combat companion at 5th level and knight's armor mastery progression. With bonus feats samurai can get bonus feats flesh themselves out.
Hunter (Ranger+Scout gestalt)Home at forests and urban environments, hunter excels in any hunting ground. They are hired often as bountyhunters, monster slayers, scouts or caretakers for woods and forests or become special agents of the crown.
Scout and Ranger perform in very similar functions but both are considered as tier 4 classes. Hunter is step up to make a single tier 3 version of both classes (without spellcasting at all nor use CW variant either as it sucks). So besides gestalting (and resulting several ranger class features coming earlier thanks scout levels) following changes are done;
-Gains gather information as class skill and urban tracking in 1st level besides track feat. Hunter is home both in wilderness and urban environments.
-Combat Style is changed slightly; there is no longer TWF tree. Instead they gain two new ones; Skirmish
and Mounted Combat
Skirmish; Dodge 2th level, Mobility 6th level, Spring Attack 11th level
Mounted Combat; Mounted Combat 2th level, Ride-By Attack 6th level, Spirited Charge 11th level
-In 4th level and every 4th level after that they gain bonus feat (picked from Scout's bonus feat list), this replaces scout's bonus feat progression.
-Favored Enemy is replaced with organizations, nationality or social status (like criminal) than specific species. But provided bonus is then halved compared to normal favored enemy but it also provides bonus to initiative checks if any opponents belong to favored category.
-In 5th level Distracting Shot (ACF from PHB II) or Animal Companion is taken as class feature, ranger level is -3 compared to druid's instead just half of it.
Witchblade (Hexblade+Soulknife gestalt)Witchblades, they are touched by ancient old magic which twists their souls and corrupts each and everyone around of them with a ancient curse as trade off for their powers. In turn they can spill curses onto others or conjure magical blades of arcane force to cut down anyone who is too curious either to their magic or their cursed state.
Soulknife is psionic class but only psionic class at 5th tier, so I considered apply it to hexblade which is 4th tier class (lower branch anyways) so with added skills (skill points also), saves and ability conjure a arcane blade (not psionic) blade out of no where would suit them well and push them to tier 3 perhaps. Following changes are done;
-Wild Talent is replaced with feature called Witchblade's presence
feature. It allows a use of prestidigitation, dancing lights and ghost sound cantrips as supernatural abilities usable at-will as a free action, but with following limitation; it can be only used to create 'creepy' effects on surroundings or things or onto people. This is basically manifestation of witchblade's own curse leaking to the surroundings. Some events can be stunted so they benefit witchblade but cause misfortune to someone else.
-Hexblades gain good fort save (so ahve both good will and fort saves benefit from Mettle feature).
-Hexblade's Hex is no longer free action but a swift action, but daily use is now capped at 1 + charisma modifier and the curse is not spend if target succeeds on will save.
-Psychic Strike is replaced with Hex Strike, it functions same as Psychic Strike (adding bonus to dmg and target can be mindless), but it has a requirement; target must suffer a hexblade's hex before it can be applied. Also applying it removes hexblade's hex from the target (so good finishing blow sort ability).
-Speed of Thought is removed and instead replaced with reserve feat (and hexblade gets new reserve feat at 12th and 18th level). Hexblade can pick reserve feats even when they do not qualify for them during the moment they pick them (but they must be able qualify for them eventually).
-Hexblade can cast any witchblade spell as swift action at once per day at 5th level, and every 5th level he gains additional use of this ability (similar to duskblade).
-Bestow Curse is added as 3th level spell available for hexblades spell list.
Martial Artist (Monk+Swashbuckler)Martial Artists are those guys who study ancient martial arts and use speed, keen intellect and insight to defeat their foes. Some say bit muscle does not hurt either but that is just icing top of the cake for their awesome techniques how they can exploit weaknesses on foes in battlefield.
Monk and swashbuckler both are tier 5 classes for varied reasons. So I pondered how save them to be at least tier 4 so I thought one problem monk faces is MAD (multiple attribute distribution) problem, so one way to compensate it is to use insightful strike (and free weapon finesse) from swashbuckler onto the monk's unarmed strikes or monk weapons. Also swashbuckler provides full BAB onto monk which significantly improves monk's ability to hit targets with flurry of blows. Also Swashbuckler's dodge feature adds dodge bonus to AC even when monk has low wisdom (and it effectively replaces monk's default 5th level boosting onto AC). Now there is ofc variant ACF's for both monk and swashbuckler and so I go in detail on them in below along with other changes;
-Monk has no proficiency in armor (despite gestalting to swashbuckler) and monk is proficient with all simple weapons. Monk then gets to choose four exotic weapons as monk style weapons for himself.
-Monk gains bonus feats as usual in 1st, 2th and 6th, but they continue gain more bonus feats in 10th, 14th and 18th and they are;
*If chose stunning fist in 1st level; Freezing the Lifeblood or Pain Touch
*If chose improved grapple in 1st level; Earth's Embrace or Close Quarter's Fighting
*If chose Draconic Fist ACF in 1st level; Gain ability perform breath attack once per day per five levels as a monk. Breath attack damage is either 60'ft line or 30'ft cone and must be same elemental damage as you chose with draconic fist ACF. The breath attack does half of the damage of draconic fist and asks save which is 10 + 1/2 monk level + wisdom modifier.
14th: Whirlwind Attack or Spring Attack
18th: Improved Sunder or Greater Cleave
-If you replace Grace feature with Arcane Stunt, you gain also invisibility (swift) as option choose from
-You gain dodge bonus every 4th level but it applies to either single target or multiple targets (split dodge bonus between foes as you prefer).
-Ki Strike and all it's other upgrades also apply to monk weapons you wield than just unarmed strike.
-You do not gain monk's normal AC progression in each five levels.
-You do not gain Lucky feature in 11th level, instead you gain Skill Mastery (1+wisdom modifier skills you can take 10).
-Because 11th feature you do not gain Acrobatic Skill Mastery.
Shinobi (Rokugan Ninja/Complete Adventurer Ninja+Spellthief gestalt)Shinobi's or female ninjas called kunoichi's are secretive mystical arts practicing spies and assassins who operate often alone in their missions or blend in to groups while carrying secret agenda. In some cultures names are replaced with mystic monks, mystics or shadow warriors or other fanciful terms. But overall shinobi is general term used for these mysterious individuals who are trained in secretive holds held by families who carry this secret tradition.
Overall spellthief is weak class even at tier 4 and rokugan ninja (or CA ninja) are in tier 5. This class is meant to be replacement of rogue class entirely (hunter is good for tracking and also sneaky stuff also but they work often as part of group where as shinobi acts alone, rarely in pairs). Spellthief class selection broadens rokugan ninja/ninja arsenal and rokugan ninja sneak attack (or complete adventurer ninja's sudden strike) progression replaces spellthief's and so allows broader use of spellthief abilities. So with these changes shinobi may be tier 3 class easily.