Fighter Class Preview For Pathfinder 2nd Edition!
  • Fighter Class Preview For Pathfinder 2nd Edition!


    Today brings us our first look at one of the core classes -- the fighter! Jason Bulmahn delves into what we should expect from the 2nd Edition version of this classic class.


    By Wayne Reynolds



    • Paizo reports that the pre-orders on paizo.com for the Pathfinder Playtest products are being delayed until March 27th -- "We are delaying the start to provide better shipping options, including picking up at Gen Con 2018! The preorder period will still end at 11:59 PM Pacific on May 1." Note that you can preorder now at your local game store.
    • Time to look at the fighter! Jason Bulmahn presents a blog entry giving us our first look at the 2nd edition version of this class. Here's the quick version:
      • Attacks of opportunity -- you can use your reaction to hit a creature with a -2 penalty if it tries to move away, make a ranged attack, or use an object. While other classes and monsters get this, only the fighter starts with it. Also, feats make it better.
      • Weapon mastery -- at 3rd level, a weapon group increases in proficiency rank to master. At 13th level it goes to legendary; at 19th level it includes all simple and martial weapons.
      • Battlefield surveyor -- one of various buffs, Perception proficiency rank goes to master, and an additional +1 to initiative.
      • Largest feat selection --
        • Sudden Charge (1st level) -- move twice speed and attack.
        • Power Attack -- two actions for extra damage die.
        • Quick Reversal (4th level) -- when flanked, turn a miss into an attack against the other flanker.
        • Shield Warden (6th level) -- block damage taken by adjacent ally.
        • Debilitating Shot -- slows target.
        • Double Shot -- shoot two nearest foes.
        • Whirlwind Strike -- all enemies within reach.
        • Double Slice (1st level) -- a dual-wielding feat mentioned by Mark Seifter in comments

    • Mark Seifter weighs in on the fighter --
      • Weapon proficiency -- "Fighters' proficiency in weapons is earlier than most characters gain mastery in anything else. Fighters are just that awesome, and it also allows other martial classes to gain expertise while the fighter is ahead."
      • Power Attack -- "Power Attack gives you one (and actually, eventually two without taking another feat to improve it!) extra damage die and does not penalize you on accuracy; and you don't want a penalty on accuracy. For a d12 two-handed weapon that might have gotten +3 damage (+3 more every 4 BAB) in PF1, that's 6.5 damage on average, going up to 13. It wasn't until BAB 16 that you would do more damage than that in PF1, and that was at a cost of -5 accuracy."
      • On Power Attack's power level -- "It's quite powerful, but it does use more actions, so your +1 greataxe character might be moving in and swinging once for a mighty 3d12+bonuses while my build might be several quick attacks for 3d6+bonuses that work out to more potential damage if I get very lucky and a little less vulnerable to bad luck. They wind up feeling more different too. Basically, it helps build different niches that make the various weapon styles wind up feeling a lot more different to use for me, whereas in PF1 I enjoyed different weapon styles, but ultimately they came down to a similar routine of full attacking whenever I could."
      • Comparing PF1's Power Attack to PF2's -- "PF1 Power Attack is worse in all but extreme edge cases where you can barely hit at all or where you hit by a mile... If you run those numbers, you will find that PF1-style -1/+3 Power Attack nets you roughly 1 expected damage over an entire round compared to not even doing anything special, and PF2-style Power Attack dramatically increases your damage."
      • Feat chains -- "As mentioned in I think one of the interviews, you should expect prerequisites to be based on things that your ability actually builds off, not other unrelated feats. So you wouldn't have a giant chain like that to take Whirlwind Attack."
      • Variety of builds -- "One of my favorite moments of the playtest in that regard was when Starfinder Developer Jason, Keeley, Software Test Engineer Erik Keith, and I all built 9th-10th level fighters who used sword and board and wanted to deal damage, but we all built in different ways. Erik built a character who used abilities like Power Attack to get in one big hit. I built a character who used agile weapons to get in a series of hits with a more favorable multiple attack penalty. Jason Keeley built a TWF sword and shield using Double Slice. And they all worked and played differently (my build was pretty powerful against some enemies but just didn't work like theirs did against high resistance foes)."
      • Handling unusual challenges [flight, underwater, extra planar locations, invisibility, damage immunity to weapons] -- "There are several class-specific options that could help with each of these (except underwater is covered well enough by skill feats that the fighter doesn't really focus class feats on the matter)."
      • Ripostes -- "As I mentioned in another thread, there is a PC ability somewhere to strike back at an enemy as a reaction if they critically fail to attack you. Sounds kind of like a riposte, eh?"
      • Spells usually trigger attacks of opportunity -- "So, the blog might not have made it clear, but most spells require the kind of fine manipulation that triggers an AoO (somatic gestures, material components)."

    • Fighters vs. wizards -- "A PF1 level 20 wizard who chooses to attack those threats with just a normal dagger is probably in for a boring and lengthy combat, but the wizard is strongly expected to win, just because those opponents only hit the wizard on a natural 20 and the wizard has more than enough HP to soak a few unlucky 20s. In PF2, a level 20 wizard low-Strength wizard using a non-magic dagger against a low-level fighter might have an additional problem to contend with: The fighter's shield. If the fighter makes two attacks and then moves back, the wizard moves up and makes two attacks, one of which the fighter can entirely block. Now, the fighter still needs a 20, just like in PF1, so the wizard will eventually win on the 2nd attacks. But if the fighter attacks once and moves back twice (assuming this wizard doesn't have enhanced mobility options because this is a weird example where the wizard is just not using magic for some reason), the wizard is in trouble."
    • Why attack penalties matter even if hitting is still likely -- "Even if you only need a 2 on the d20 to hit on your first attack, you do not want to take a -5 penalty in PF2. Because it eliminates over half of your criticals hits, it's a reduction of over 1/3 of your expected damage (and you also don't get to do the fun things that only happen on a critical)."
    • "Anti-aerial feats"? -- "We actually have two feats that work together like you suggest explicitly in the rules (some of the anti-aerial feats), and we don't charge you extra for it!"


    Comments 83 Comments
    1. Ancalagon's Avatar
      Ancalagon -
      There is precious little as to what a fighter can do *outside* of combat...
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
      There is precious little as to what a fighter can do *outside* of combat...
      Who needs to have Diplomancy when the NPC knows how easily this Roleplaying Encounter can become a Combat Encounter.
    1. Arakasius's Avatar
      Arakasius -
      Fighters are still going to be about martial power. I would guess some of their class feats will be non combat options, but I donít expect them to be RP machines. Basically this blog just gave us some of the Fighter feats you can choose. As well as telling you about AoO and martial training.

      Two things I do like from this though:

      1. Cementing more that AoO arenít just all the rage in this game. Those were dumb in the first game and punished movement. You can get them and do cool things with it but itís not going to be this minesweeper like maze clogging up the battle.
      2. Power attack basically being vital strike from PF1. I thought power attack might change given their push for accuracy meaning crits. This is now confirmed. Between magic weapons adding die and power attack adding die this means static bonuses are lower and we get to roll more dice. I like that! They seem to be doing a good job of reducing static bonuses and instead having feats give you special things you can do.
    1. Charlaquin's Avatar
      Charlaquin -
      Haha now the Fighter is a Skill monkey for weapon proficiencies! I love it!
    1. Charlaquin's Avatar
      Charlaquin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
      There is precious little as to what a fighter can do *outside* of combat...
      Eh, thatís only from its base features and a handful of Class Feats. Iím sure theyíll be able to take Skill Feats and General Feats that give them interesting things to do out of combat.
    1. Aldarc's Avatar
      Aldarc -
      This design diary makes me want to play a fighter!

      I kinda like how the fine tuning of PF2 proficiencies actually make the Fighter the master of weapons. Or potentially being able to add their shield bonus to Reflex saves.

      The action economy and the various things they are giving the Fighter seems like they are actually providing interesting tactical choices for the Fighter in each round rather than just full-attack.
    1. Jacob Lewis's Avatar
      Jacob Lewis -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
      There is precious little as to what any version of D&D can do *outside* of combat...
      Better?
    1. Ancalagon's Avatar
      Ancalagon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Lewis View Post
      Better?
      Well, 5e helped the issue with backgrounds (not fixed, but it's better than before). And we know there is going to be backgrounds in PF, so I guess we'll have to wait and see how those are implemented... hmmm.
    1. CubicsRube's Avatar
      CubicsRube -
      I have high hopes for pf2s downtime rules.

      Yes, i am prepared to be disappointed
    1. TwoSix -
      If they're smart, they'll put those "trump card" kind of abilities into master-level and legendary-level feats. Throw off charms and restraints, dodge Reflex abilities, dispel magic with a sword swing, etc.

      Ancestry feats also seem like a place where you can put in some non-combat abilities at mid to high levels.
    1. ddaley's Avatar
      ddaley -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
      There is precious little as to what a fighter can do *outside* of combat...
      Is there something listed for the fighter that would prevent you from role playing?
    1. Herobizkit's Avatar
      Herobizkit -
      I find it an odd style choice to 'let' the Fighter get an Attack of Opportunity before other classes. Shouldn't everyone have an AoO from the gate? Also, you take a penalty to hit for even trying? I'm not a fan of negative numbers, period.

      Everything else looks juicy enough, especially the OPTION to drop two attacks in favour of one big hit.

      Fighters fight. It's always been their job.
    1. Aldarc's Avatar
      Aldarc -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwoSix View Post
      If they're smart, they'll put those "trump card" kind of abilities into master-level and legendary-level feats. Throw off charms and restraints, dodge Reflex abilities, dispel magic with a sword swing, etc.
      At the very least, their current class structure provides design room for such additions if they are not included already.

      Quote Originally Posted by Herobizkit View Post
      I find it an odd style choice to 'let' the Fighter get an Attack of Opportunity before other classes. Shouldn't everyone have an AoO from the gate? Also, you take a penalty to hit for even trying? I'm not a fan of negative numbers, period.

      Everything else looks juicy enough, especially the OPTION to drop two attacks in favour of one big hit.

      Fighters fight. It's always been their job.
      Fighters are trained to fight, and I think that includes being able to recognize better than others what we would label "attacks of opportunity." Other classes will get them, and it remains to be seen what flavor they will take on. Paladins, for example, seem to have "Retributive Strike" as their AoO equivalent, which allows them to strike an opponent who struck an ally.
    1. ddaley's Avatar
      ddaley -
      Quote Originally Posted by Herobizkit View Post
      I find it an odd style choice to 'let' the Fighter get an Attack of Opportunity before other classes. Shouldn't everyone have an AoO from the gate? Also, you take a penalty to hit for even trying? I'm not a fan of negative numbers, period.
      I don't have an issue with fighters getting attacks of opportunity at 1st level or with negative numbers... but, I do like the dice chain concept from Dungeon Crawl Classics... that is a fun alternative to penalties.
    1. Kobold Boots -
      I guess my grumpy old man take on "what can fighters do outside combat" is pretty dumb when I say something like..

      Anything any other character can do outside of combat, it's called role-playing. Sure, the fighter may need to build a small group of retainers around him because he's focused so much on fighting, but I think that's the point.
    1. MichaelSomething's Avatar
      MichaelSomething -
      I thought everyone got skill feats...
    1. Aldarc's Avatar
      Aldarc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kobold Boots View Post
      I guess my grumpy old man take on "what can fighters do outside combat" is pretty dumb when I say something like..

      Anything any other character can do outside of combat, it's called role-playing. Sure, the fighter may need to build a small group of retainers around him because he's focused so much on fighting, but I think that's the point.
      I do think that you and others rightfully harbor a concern about the fighter's ability to influence the OoC narrative with their class abilities, and it's possible that Paizo did not think that it was of core importance. Hopefully there will be further clarification or information about that.
    1. Arakasius's Avatar
      Arakasius -
      They have 5 skill feats now, as well as ancestry stuff. Fighters in PF1 could bump non combat stuff, but since general feats could always go towards more combat options they were incentivized to just keep dumping options into them to become even better at fighting, neglecting their RP options. I think this (along with the new skill proficiency) will do a lot to make all classes more respectable out of combat situations.
    1. Stacie GmrGrl's Avatar
      Stacie GmrGrl -
      This looksike a cool Fighter class. Many of the ideas of this remind me of a lot of Feat ideas from Fantasy Craft.
    1. Kobold Boots -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
      I do think that you and others rightfully harbor a concern about the fighter's ability to influence the OoC narrative with their class abilities, and it's possible that Paizo did not think that it was of core importance. Hopefully there will be further clarification or information about that.
      I'm less concerned about the fighter's ability to drive out of combat narrative, than I am about game masters that need explanations/hand holding for/regarding how fighting classes (without a lot of skills outside of combat) can drive RP or out of combat narrative.
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