5E Fighter Variant - Light Fighter (experiment)

5E Fighter Variant - Light Fighter (experiment)


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5E Fighter Variant - Light Fighter (experiment)

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On a variety of threads here, there have been a number of debates over Light Fighters, their neglect or half-baked attempts to "fix" the neglect in older editions as well as to whether or not the current Fighter class does the archetype justice. As an experiment I attempted a Light Fighter Duelist subclass first. Its "meh". The next step was to experiment with making an ALT-Fighter class - Light Fighter.

"The Light Fighter is an archetype often misunderstood or woefully ignored in basic fantasy settings. Many simply hand wave them as rogues, which does the archetype a strong disservice.

Heavy warriors are your classic plate-bound tank warriors who are most at home on large battlefields or delving deep within some old dungeon. They favor brute force and stamina to carry them through challenges.

Light Fighters on the other hand prefer to rely on their quickness, agility, finesse, daring and wit. They are most often found in campaigns that focus on urban adventuring, where heavily armored knights are often banned on the streets. They also dominate in campaigns with a more renaissance focus to the fantasy genre, as well of course as in any campaign based on the high seas, where a heavy fighter becomes a high liability."

This is a lightly modified fighter class that swaps around some abilities, gives up medium and heavy armor and includes:
* 6 Archetypes: Brawler, Corsair, Duelist, Gallant, Musketeer and Swashbuckler.
* 3 New Fighting Styles: Brawling, Firearms, Precision
* 4 New Maneuvers: Jibing Insult, Plunging Strike, Stunning Strike

D&D 5E - Light Fighter (EnWorld safe) version 1.3

1.1 EDITS:
* Fixed Saves - DEX & INT
* Added Appendix for new weapons (Fist and Firearms)

1.2 EDITS:
* Appendix:
Slow Load. This property is the same as Loading (p147 PHB), except that two-handed weapons with this property require 3 actions to reload if the individual is not proficient in their use or 2 actions if proficient. Light weapons with this property require 2 actions to reload if the individual is not proficient in their use or 1 action if proficient, thus turning Slow Load into simply the Loading quality.

* Added: New Feat
Thanks to extensive practice with the firearms, you gain the following benefits:
* You reduce the number of actions required to load a firearm by 1. In the case of proficient users, this turns Slow Load into Loading (p147 PHB) for two-handed firearms and allows you to ignore the Loading quality of Light firearms.
* Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
* When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded Light firearm you are holding.

1.3 EDITS:
* Added: Kensai Archetype
* Cleared up Sea Legs as Ability checks only, not saves.
* Fixed Jibe vs Gibe
* Fixed Stunning Strike to Incapacitating Strike

PM me if you would like a full text version.
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  1. RhaezDaevan
    A few comments:

    Why do they get 2 good saves? Everyone gets one of (con, dex, wis) and one of (str, int, cha). I'd switch out con saves for either int or cha saves.

    Brawler keeps mentioning a fist weapon in addition to unarmed strikes. What's a fist weapon? Do you mean like a cestus? Do you have stats for a fist weapon?

    The firearms style just seems like archery with an additional feature. Just like fist weapons being missing, I don't see firearms anywhere. I'll reserve judgment until I see just how powerful firearms are compared to ranged weapons in the PHB/Basic doc, but the +2 bonus to hit may be too much.

    I do like what you're trying to do overall. Just needs some tweaking.
  2. Khaalis
    Thanks for the comments.

    My bad, I missed the split between "good" and "fair" saves when I did the quick edit from the Fighter. However, considering the focus of the Light Fighter, it should likely be DEX & INT.

    Yes, typical fist weapons. I have added an Appendix with my current stats for fist weapons to the updated download. They may need some tweaks but its the first pass at conversion from d20.

    I've attached the current firearms info I'm using including links to the footnoted sources. That said, weapons are pretty simple to customize.
  3. RhaezDaevan
    Alright, looks better now, though I question one more thing.

    The Firearms fighting style lets you use your bonus action to reload, but firearms take 2 or 3 actions to reload. Did you mean for the fighting style to change it from 2-3 actions to a single bonus action, or is it supposed to mean a combination of actions and bonus actions that add up to 2 or 3?
  4. Khaalis
    Argh. Damn it. I thought I fixed this. The issue was drawing material from 2 sources and being lazy in not reinventing the rules myself. /kicks self

    I need to go back and fix "Slow Load" now that I really look at it again.

    Slow Load
    I like that Proficiency makes the weapon easier to load. So with that if Non-Proficiency requires 3 actions, then Proficiency by all accounts should reduce it to 2 actions.

    By RAW, this means 2-3 "actions" not "actions or bonus actions", thus 2-3 turns to reload. Makes sense.

    However, there is then the question of the pistol, which is in reality quicker to load (no use of the ramming rod). So that would mean Non-Proficiency requires 2 actions and Proficiency requires 1 action (the same as a crossbow).

    Also, going back and rereading the existing PHB feats, I feel we need to remove the reference to Sharpshooter as the source for improved load. In fact, this should actually require a new feat.

    So this bring us to the following changes.

    Slow Load. This property is the same as Loading (p147 PHB), except that two-handed weapons with this property require 3 actions to reload if the individual is not proficient in their use or 2 actions if proficient. Light weapons with this property require 2 actions to reload if the individual is not proficient in their use or 1 action if proficient, thus turning Slow Load into simply the Loading quality.

    Thanks to extensive practice with the firearms, you gain the following benefits:
    * You reduce the number of actions required to load a firearm by 1. In the case of proficient users, this turns Slow Load into Loading (p147 PHB) for two-handed firearms and allows you to ignore the Loading quality of Light firearms.
    * Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn't impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
    * When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded Light firearm you are holding.

    The Firearms Fighting Style remains the same. As it is worded it now, it allows you to use a "Bonus Action" as if it were an "action" for the purposes of loading. Thus a fighter with this style can reload a two-handed firearm in 1 turn by using an Action and a Bonus Action to do so, or reload a Light firearm as a Bonus Action each round.
  5. RhaezDaevan
    A lot more clear, thanks.
  6. Ilbranteloth
    Interesting stuff. After a quick read, I don't know if you want it, but here's my 2cp.

    Sea Legs seems a bit overpowered. Are you referring to ability checks or saving throws? Applying the bonus to all three is quite a boost.

    "This is not the gibe you're looking for..." - jibe is a nautical term, gibe is an insult.

    Stunning is pretty powerful as well. Consider incapacitation as an alternative.

  7. Connorsrpg
    This looks great. I too LOVE Dex-based fighters and it always seems odd to have to 'forget' armor profs or leave behind what you started as.
    This seems a very good compromise. I am very impressed with the many archetypes. Another that could easily be added is the kensai for Oriental Adventures (but any game would benefit from a pure weapon expert).

    Not sure class features should be like Background ones?

    And, I am not sold on the name. What about 'Unfettered'? In fact, I was about to start work on an Unfettered when i came across your work. I think 'Light Fighter' sounds odd.

    A well set out PDf too. Did you do all the layout yourself?
  8. Khaalis
    See, the problem I have with Kensai is that its become rather muddled in the last few years in gaming. Kensai is a practitioner of Kenjutsu which is an encompassing term for all Koryu schools of Japanese sword fighting (especially Kendo and Iaido). It originated with the Samurai class of feudal japan and it means "the method or technique of the sword".

    I really do not understand where the unarmored aspect got tied to the Kensai in gaming. Kenjutsu practitioners do were armor, just not usually in practice (same as many fighting styles including western). From a gaming point of view I've seen them given classes, prestige classes and even archetype or the Magus. I'm not sure how If I had to pin down Kensai to D&D 5 I would call them a Battle Master Fighter. I think the concept needs to be looked at a little more closely before assigning it.

    Can you explain what you meant by "Not sure class features should be like Background ones?" Been a long night at work and this just isn't clicking for me.

    As for the layout, yes I do all my own layout work. Its pretty amateurish but its not as bad as some I've seen tossed out. I like my files to at least bear some resemblance to the current core book layout.

    As for the name, I had thought about Unfettered but that name is one of Monte Cook's Arcana classes so wasn't sure I wanted to tread there. It is also technically an ALT-Fighter and not an entirely new class. Not opposed to giving it a name but I didn't think it was that necessary since most people "name" their class based on their subclass. For instance people are more likely to say "I'm a Battle Master" than "I'm a Fighter Battle Master", JMHO.

    If Monte wouldn't take afront, Unfettered is a good name.
  9. Connorsrpg
    So true re Kensai (as I think it first appeared in an OA ). Whatever the historical significance on the term, I still just LOVED the class that has been traditional to D&D. (It is not like D&D to mess with actual meanings of words, right? Gorgon ). Just saying, I like the class - It has always been a fav.

    Even if you took the actual Weapon Expert part. D&D 5E doesn't really do that right now.

    A member of our group also added to the BG idea I so briefly put. What I was getting at, was don't archetypes mostly have actual rules, modifiers, etc. BGs have those RP-only features. You have included them here and it seems to overlap with BGs.

    Other member of our group made it clearer. These archetypes seem to many and cover the same space. Isn't it really BG that separates a Gallant or Corsair from other Swashbucklers? ie: Noble and the sailor one? Meaning, what BGs would these guys take if BG is baked into archetype? If an archetype doesn't mix well with several BGs, then I am not sure it needs its own archetype.

    I mean what BGs would a Gallant take? It is pretty clear really. He already has BG according to your write-up.

    I reckon you could merge a few archetypes, and differentiate them with BGs basically. (Even though I love the fluff and ideas here).
  10. Khaalis
    As to the Kensai, if you really want to stick to the older D&D visions of the class, it really is likely to need its own class treatment, or should be a true subclass of Fighter rather than Light Fighter. As it stands now, the closest thing to Kensai in the core is a Champion Fighter, where the Critical strike focus is the embodiment of the weapon expert of the Kensai. It just isn't limited to 1 weapon.

    Now as to the Light Fighter archetypes...

    Now technically YMMV, and you could trim the subclasses, but each one is different mechanically and has a different mechanical focus.
    * Brawler = Unarmed light fighter. Basically a Monk dabble MC Subclass.
    * Corsair = Sea campaign oriented for those who specifically want a Sea oriented fighting class.
    * Duelist = Disciplined light fighter geared mechanically towards a one-on-one fighting style revolving around mobility, precision attacks and taunts.
    * Gallant = Geared toward more political or courtly style campaigns. An educated light fighter focusing mechanically on more subtle campaigns.
    * Musketeer = Specifically designed to fill the niche of sword and gun wielding elite soldier style of light fighters in a renaissance genre.
    * Swashbuckler = Designed as the "Generic" rapier and buckler, bantering while fencing style of light fighter.

    Now keep in mind, not all games will use all subclasses, but the point of the experiment was to Provide a class and subclasses to fill all of the possible Light Fighter genres needs. If you don't want Gallants (aka Fops) in your game, don't use them if they don't fit the genre of your campaign. The same can be said of Musketeers which are specifically geared toward Renaissance level campaigns.

    As to their being RP Background features in the classes, I don't see this. Every subclass in the PHB has an opening paragraph of Fluff about the archetype and the roles they normally fill in the genre of the campaign. Light Fighter Archetypes are no different, though possibly slightly more specific in nature as they were meant to be. However, I don't necessarily agree that there are too many or that they step on the toes of Backgrounds in most cases.

    As we already know not all backgrounds are really meant for all classes, but could be stretched and forced is necessary such as say an Acolyte Barbarian.

    Now as to your specific examples:
    * What separates a Gallant from a Corsair from a Swashbuckler.... As I mentioned above, they have different niches and different campaign focuses. They are mechanically different as well. Different fighting style focuses and different key defining abilities that formulate the fighting style of that particular subclass. Do you need all 3 in the same game? That totally depends on the game you are running, but technically you Can have all three.

    Now here are some examples of how they can still differ using Backgrounds and the three archetypes you seem to think are redundant.

    Lets start out with the CRIMINAL:
    Criminal Corsair - You learned your fighting trade on the seas. Perhaps you were a merchant marine, a sailor in the navy or just an outright pirate. Examples: Jack Sparrow, Barbossa, Captain Hook, Errol Flynn's Captain Blood.
    Criminal Gallant - You may be of noble birth, but you are not the shining example of the best the nobility can offer. Whether you really are evil or if you are just looking for something more exiting than court life, you've spent more than your share of time in the criminal world. Example: Count Rugen, Count Rochefort
    Criminal Swashbuckler You are trained in the arts of Swashing the Buckle whether from a military stint or through an academy or a personal master. However, you use your skills for ill ends. Example: Amanda (Highlander)

    You state what can a Gallant take as a background? Ok...
    Acolyte Gallant - you are a lesser noble trained in the light fighting arts but spent your early years training in the service of a temple of the war god.
    Charlatan Gallant - Your a noble gallant but spent your early years reveling in using your intellect and stratagem you learned in fighting school and applying them to swindle your fellow nobles. You may take over the family business some day.
    Entertainer Gallant - You're a noble and what better class to have access to best of arts and culture. You spent any time not learning the sword performing. Or perhaps you blended the two - Celtic Sword Dance anyone?
    Folk Hero - Dear gods this one is easy. You are of noble birth but choose to fight for the common folk. Let me just say two names - Robin of Loxley (Robin Hood) and Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro).
    Guild Artisan Gallant - You are of noble birth and your family business is the Guild. You spent as much time learning guild business as you did swordplay.
    Hermit Gallant - Little more of a stretch but either you felt a need to go off on a hermitage, or perhaps you were kept as a prisoner (aka a hostage for those of noble birth).
    Noble Gallant - Yes you are an epitome of what it is to be noble. Perhaps the first son of a noble house, perhaps even royalty. Your entire education has been focused upon what it is to be noble.
    Outlander - You are of noble birth but your family is very old school and has not lost their roots. Perhaps you were sent off to experience life in another part of the world as part of your education, so that you would bring this knowledge back with you as a lesson when you again return to your noble surroundings, or perhaps you were like Oliver Queen, lost and thought dead until you returned home.
    Sage Gallant - Knowledge is power. You are not just a student of the light fighting arts but a renaissance man who finds educating the mind is just as important as educating the body.
    Sailor Gallant - Unlike corsairs, you training in the sailing arts is an education or a short term profession rather than a lifestyle. Perhaps as a noble, you served in the royal navy as a low ranking officer. Perhaps your family are sailor merchants and you had to learn the family business. Or perhaps you were given a letter of marquise making you a privateer allowed to commit piracy on the ships of enemies to the crown.
    Soldier Gallant - Perhaps you are a lesser son of your house so instead of the family business you were set up with a military commission. Or perhaps your family values military training in its endeavors or has deep military ties or is devoted to a deity of war and conquest.

    So I hope that answers your question. The "Fluff" in being a gallant (or any other subclass for that matter) doesn't step on the toes of the Backgrounds. It merely adds more flavor and focus to the concepts of the backgrounds.

    As another example... lets take Dumas's Musketeers...
    (Assuming Musketeer as the subclass)
    * Athos = Noble Musketeer
    * Aramis = Acolyte Musketeer
    * Porthos = Sailor (or Criminal) Musketeer
    * d'Artagnan = Folk Hero Musketeer

    If you want to be more loose about it and say not are all fitting of the "Musketeer" subclass
    * Athos = Noble Gallant
    * Aramis = Acolyte Musketeer
    * Porthos = Sailor (or Criminal) Swashbuckler
    * d'Artagnan = Folk Hero Duelist

    So I hope this goes to show that the minor fluff in the Subclass descriptions does little to hinder the use of the background system. It just makes you think a little more deeply about the character and how you see them and their current and past influences.
  11. Connorsrpg
    That is all awesome. I actually love that you have done so many subclasses. With a lot of conversions (esp ones I have attempted), I have just noted that most options are actually already there.

    You have definitely differentiated each subclass mechanically.

    But even your Gallant egs above all talk about being a Noble. Being a Noble talks to background, not a fighting archetype. Seems a conumdrum to me. You have created awesome subclasses and I would find it hard to let go of them too

    Not worried about having them all in same game at all. I actually love them, but just seeing a lot of conversions that seem to fit other areas (even when very well done ).

    Regarding the 'fluff', I didn't really mean fluff. I mean Features that resemble BG Features. Do they belong in subclasses? Another stepping on the BG toes. Egs: Corsair - Fearsome rep; Gallant - Famed blade; Musketeer - United We Stand.

    These 'type' of features appear as BG Features in the PHB and I think these step on the toes of the BGs a little too much. (And may make the BG choices obsolete).

    And yes, YVMV too I am just pointing out what we saw upon reading you very well written piece.

    (I have gone to convert African Adventures classes and realised most options are actually available in the PHB. And some classes are really just BGs etc).

    Oh, and on the Kensai. I could see a Weapon Specialist here and under normal Fighter. I would want one focussed on 1 weapon like the OA versions. (But no need to inc here - it was just a thought as i was reading - b/c I love the Kensai ).
  12. Khaalis
    Thanks for the comments. As you said, YMMV on all of it. Like with anything, even whats in the PHB, its all open to Houseruling and Homebrewing. Feel free to mix and match anything you want and make the class/sublcasses you want for your game. I just provided a starting point template.

    As for abilities like "Fearsome Rep" I have noticed other people's classes also having abilities similar to this and I personally like it. I don't feel that every class ability has to be combat oriented. For some cases, a "Background-esque" ability is fitting and it adds to the Utility of the character outside of combat. But to each their own. Its really easy to pull those abilities out and simply drop in something more combat focused if that is what you'd like. Again, all about personalizing the material to your tastes and your game. Kind of like Burger King. Make it Your Way.

    As for the Kensai, I've been thinking on it. I'm having a hard time though focusing on what it is that makes the Kensai different from other fighters mechanically. The only thing I keep coming back to is basically a Champion Fighter with the Restriction of only gaining the benefits with one weapon - which seems a much weaker subclass, not an equal one. Beyong that, what it is to be Kensai, I think, is more Background oriented just as would Samurai and likely Ninja. But as you mentioned, there are those that muddy the water such as something like a Gladiator. Is it purely a background or is it a unique set of class abilities that make them more of a Bard/Fighter since Showmanship is the at the true heart of a gladiator. Then what about Hoplites? Unarmored shield and spear fighters. Might make a good Light Fighter subclass, or it could be a background. Hard to choose.

    It will be very interesting to see how topics like this will develop over the coming years. This is the first time I've been excited about creating for a new edition in quite a long time.
  13. Connorsrpg
    Cheers - you are right. A lot of archetypes/concepts can fit in more than one place in D&D 5E. (I was just in the Prestige Class thread ). I think that is cool.

    I like the RP-style powers too, but I was just pointing out, the ones you have directly cross over some of the BG ones, such that a PC with appropriate BG and the subclass is 'missing out'. No biggie though.

    I actually like what you have donee so much with the subclasses (and explaining them), i couldn't make any recommendations on pulling any of them, b/c they are all cool.

    I finally have some more direct/constructive feedback.

    I just reread your doc, with the PHB beside me. I might not be seeing something here, but I think your subclasses may be more powerful than those in the PHB.

    Why? You seem to give the bonus features of BOTH the subclasses in the PHB. 10th level seems to be the main issue. According to your doc, Light Fighters get the Champion's Additional Fighting Style AND the Improved Combat Superiority of the Battle Master AND a extra unique power according to their subclass. Shouldn't this be ONE of those three?

    Also, to distinguish from Battle master, perhaps your guys don't get as many maneuvers to start with. I think your unique 3rd level features make up for this already anyway. (A battle master gets 3 maneuvers and a lousy proficiency in tools).

    I reckon 2 maneuvers and your unique features for 3rd would be a good compromise. (As well as picking up their Fighting Style - I note this is delayed from level 1 for normal Fighters).

    Levels 7, 15 and 20 seem balanced vs PHB ones
  14. RhaezDaevan
    I've been tinkering with the idea of a weapon master archetype which is essentially the champion with the added abilities to get +1 to attack and +2 damage, and get to re-roll 1s on attack rolls, but all subclass abilities only work with a single weapon they've practiced with (not a single type, a single weapon). So a champion can pick up any weapon and get their features, but the weapon master would need to spend downtime to retrain a new weapon if their's is lost. Would that be balanced?
  15. Connorsrpg
    Sorry - Kensai seems to have threadjacked. Would you prefer a new thread to discuss it?
  16. Khaalis
    I personally don't care as it is a valid discussion as a subclass for Light Fighters as well. That said, it might get more traction and exposure as its own thread.

    This is how I've been thinking about it.

    NewArchetype: KENSAI (modified Champion)
    A kensai spends their life focusing their training and meditation into a rapturous perfection of the use of a single weapon, which is usually but not always a sword, channeling their inner might through this chosen weapon in a dizzying and deadly dance beyond the abilities of even the greatest of mundane warriors.

    At 3rd level, choose one specific melee weapon with which you are proficient (i.e. Longsword). This weapon becomes your Kenjutsu Weapon. When using your Kenjutsu weapon you gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus to damage rolls you make with your Kenjutsu Weapon.

    Kenjutsu Critical Strike
    At 7th level, your Kenjutsu Weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

    Kenjutsu Precision
    At 10th level, When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with your Kenjutsu Weapon, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if it is a 1 or a 2.

    Kenjutsu Master Strike
    At 15th level, your Kenjutsu Weapon attacks now score a critical hit on a roll of 18-20.

    Iaijutsu Strike
    At 18th level, you master Iaijutsu, the crowning combative quick-draw sword technique. Once per turn you can deal an extra 2d8 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use you Kenjutsu Weapon. You don't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
  17. Khaalis
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I actually felt this was a somewhat weak power as there aren't that many of these checks. I added the word "ability" into the description for clarification.

    The feature allows you to add half your Proficiency bonus (+1 min to +3 max) to any Ability Score check that does NOT normally gain a Proficiency bonus.
    These are:
    * STR: Force open doors, break free of bonds, push through tight spaces, hand from a moving vehicle, tip a heavy object, Keep a heavy object from rolling
    * DEX: Control an out of control vehicle, pick a lock, disable trap, securely tie a prisoner, wriggle free of bonds, play an instrument, craft a small object
    * CON: Holding breath, marching, hard labor,going without sleep, survive without food and water, quaff a stein of ale in one shot

    Pretty much everything a real Corsair should be slightly better at then Joe the Swabby.

    Good Catch. Edited.

    Not sure How I missed this one. I must have had it switched in my head that it went Stun > Incapacitated. Fixed.

    Thanks again for the input. Check out the new version. Include a Kensai archetype I was asked to add.
  18. Connorsrpg
    Oh, I replied re the Kensai on the Archetype page

    Looks good (though not sure about adding +1 attack - then again, other fighting styles do it).

    Reminder: did you look at Light Fighter features, esp gaining 3 at level 10 (see above).
  19. Khaalis
    I think the single +1 to attack rolls is ok. Its not exactly inspiring but its not as big a bonus as Archery fighting style.

    As for the light fighter three bonuses at 10th, there are other classes that get "upgrades" of features that don't count as class feature gains, Combat Superiority being one of them (in fact it deals 2 of them - # maneuvers, # die size). I personally think its fine as-is (since I feel that Battle Master 10 is kind of a ripoff and weaker than most other class features of the level) but if you're really worried about it, you could either stagger the improvements a bit +/-1 level or drop the die size increase. Honestly, I don't see minor improvements like picking up new maneuvers (like other classes get new spells) or dice scaling for level as being worth a full Level Feature. Just as a rogue's sneak attack dice increase isnt considered a level feature or every odd level they wouldn't have some other feature gain. JMHO.
  20. RhaezDaevan
    The easiest way to compare regular fighter to the light fighter is to build one of each and play them side by side.

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