Following on from the post about Fantasy Noir, here’s suitably Chanderesque fluff text for the 1st level Fighter Powers from the 4e PHB, just to give you a feel how this could be done. I’ll leave the other Powers as an exercise for the reader.
Cleave: “I swear boss, he was knocking us down like ninepins. He was takin’ us on two at a time!”
Reaping Strike: These thugs are no match for years in the ring. A quick jab and a slug from the side, and they don’t even feel the floor him ’em on the way down.
Sure Strike: “……and then he got ‘im, right between the eyes.”
Tide of Iron: When I say get back, I mean (push!) GET BACK!
Covering Attack: ‘Slugger’ Axesmiter cracked his knuckles. “You get out the way, elf. This one is mine.”
Passing Attack: You lay into the heavies, swiping first one then the other with your mighty blows.
Spinning Sweep: You grit your teeth, striking a low blow that leaves the poor mook floored and gasping for breath.
Steel Serpent Strike: “You got one working kneecap left. Why not leave now while you still can?”
Brute Strike: “It’s all about traction, see? I hit, and you’re in traction.”
Comeback Strike: You spit a glob of blood, a broad grin on your face. “Whadya waiting for? I could do this all day!”
Villain’s Menace: You roll up your sleeves, focus turning entirely to the fight. “Good luck, fools. This is what I do.”
One thing that’s common to Noir, but poorly implemented (if at all) in 4e D&D is unarmed attacks. That’s easily solved by giving all the heroes Unarmed Weapon Proficiency for free, granting +2 to attack rolls for d4 damage with their fists. Allow feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus and Quick Draw (fastest fists in Faerun!) to apply to unarmed attacks, and allow any Power which requires a Weapon to be used with an unarmed attack. Want to get the players smashing chairs over the head of thugs? Suggest an Improvised Weapon Proficiency Feat which gives a +3 proficiency bonus with improvised weapons. Job done.
Want Wizard Powers too as an extra special bonus? They’re simple. Your typical Fantasy Noir Wizard is a skinny bespectacled fellow in well-worn tweed who drops Latin into everyday conversation. One quick trip to an English-Latin translator for some pseudo-Latin, and……
Ghost Sound: Phasma Sanus
Mage Hand: Veneficus Manus
Prestidigitation: Manus Frustro (hand trick)
Cloud of Daggers: Nubilus per Mucro
Magic Missile: Magus Contendo
Ray of Frost: Funis per Gelu (line of frost)
Scorching Burst: Igneus Eruptio
Thunderwave: Attonbitus Fluctus
Burning Hands: Igneus Manus
Chill Strike: Gelu Offendo
Force Orb: Navitas Orbis (energy orb)
Icy Terrain: Glacialis Terra
Ray of Enfeeblement: Funis per Infirmitas
Acid Arrow: Acidus Telum
Flaming Sphere: Igneus Orbis
Freezing Cloud: Gelidus Nubilus
Heck, I like these so much I might use ’em all the time.
Find a Noir-style schtick for each Class, and it’s not difficult to turn 4e’s high-pixel flashiness into something more in keeping with the tone of the setting. Perhaps the Warlord’s Powers are the barked commands of a Sergeant, and your Rogue Powers double entendres breathed through sultry cigarette smoke.
Coming soon: A bevy of Fantasy Noir themed Characters du Jour!