So I started with the soldier, trying to capture the tanky front liner fighter, and now I’ve made the weapon master for the DPS fighter. The weapon master definitely plays to the strengths of both the combat expertise and power attack fighter styles, and would make a very capable two weapon fighter, although they can only have one focus weapon at a time.
The class drops weapon and armour training and bravery from the fighter class, as well as armour and shield proficiency and the ability to use magic weapons. In exchange the class gains the ability to bypass basically all varieties of DR similar to a monk, and can grant themselves some decent attack and damage bonuses vs one opponent. Also, all good saves and the ability to reroll saves at 7th level makes them much less vulnerable than a fighter to many spell effects, and the ability to perform a combat maneuver as a move or swift action brings their action economy more in line with a paladin or similar tier 4 character.
Assuming fully enchanted weapons, the weapon master does a bit less damage on average, but can get a better armour class and saves by a wide margin. In the end, I think this is a reasonable trade.
The ability to use discipline to boost skills outside of combat, and the built in requisite of ranking up a craft or performance skill ads flavour and utility to a class that normally has none. The requisite skill ranks are offset by double the skill points per level, and reflect the class’s search for insight into their art through other tasks. Wielding a brush or hammer to gain insight into swinging a sword or spear is a common concept in martial arts media through the ages.
Without having the chance to playtest it, I’m calling this class done for now and moving on to the next project, the brute. With that class I will be done updating and remodeling the fighter class and be able to move on to the next stage in my project.