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Thread: Of Fighters and Sammiches
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 05:27 PM #1
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Of Fighters and Sammiches
Required reading: Fighter Design Goals, from Wizards of the Coast.
When I'm trying out a new deli for the first time, I always order the same thing first: a turkey & swiss on whole wheat. It's the sandwich I eat the most often, and it is one of the easiest to make...and surprisingly, it is also the easiest to screw up if you are eating at a bad deli. It's a good litmus test for delis. A lot can go wrong: the turkey can be dry, the bread can be stale, the mayo can taste like it was squeezed from a caulking gun, you get the idea. But when the turkey is moist and tender, the bread is fresh-baked and fragrant, and the mayo was blended that morning from their own special recipe? That is when you know you have found something really special.
You can tell a lot about a deli by how they treat the simplest of orders. Sure, a deli might have corned beef reubens, Philly cheesesteaks, or meatball grinders on the menu...but if they can't even get a simple turkey & swiss right, you can almost bet that these "deluxe" sammiches will be disappointing.
Well, when it comes to RPGs, the fighter is my "turkey and swiss." It is the most basic of classes, the most straightforward in play, the simplest in design. Sure, it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of the "deluxe" classes out there, but it is the one that you are going to be seeing the most of (you know, unless you are in a game world where all of those orcs and goblins are druids or something.) Sure, they might have other things on the menu (like a roast beef and cheddar cleric, or a spicy meatball wizard, or the corned beef reuben rogue, etc.), but you need a good baseline for comparison. And you can tell a lot about the game mechanics by how well they do the Fighter class.
Take the BECM fighter, for example: you get a generous portion of tender, juicy weapon options, wrapped up in moist, fresh-baked armor and shield, with a nice shmear of house-made weapon mastery...not too much, just enough to bring out the flavor. It was ready to enjoy within minutes of your order, and it would stick to your ribs so that you wouldn't get hungry ten minutes later. It didn't need special options or exotic toppings to make it taste good. But after ten years or so, it was hard to get excited about. "Oh, we are going to the BECM Deli? I guess I'll have the fighter. Again."
The 3.X fighter was delicious, but it was really complicated. It was as if I ordered a turkey & swiss, and the waiter pointed me to a smorgassboard of meats, cheeses, breads, veggies, and condiments behind me where I could build my own sammich. I guess that is one way to make a perfect sandwich and get it exactly the way you want it...but that takes time and effort. Sometimes you just want to grab a quick bite and go, you know? "If I have to make my own sammich, I'll just stay home."
When 4E came out, I didn't care too much for the taste either. Sure, the 4E fighter could kick some serious posterior, but they lost me with all of the "powers" and the odd healing mechanics. It was like I ordered the turkey & swiss, and they brought me one of those trendy turkey and swiss wraps on gluten-free flatbread with special sauce and a side of movie theater popcorn. I'm sure it was tasty, but it wasn't what I had in mind. "What the heck is all this?! I just wanted a sammich!"
So I will be watching the new 5E deli with interest...I love a good sammich, after all. And when it finally opens for business, the first thing I am going to do is roll up a turkey & swiss and take a good, thick bite out of it. And from that first, hopefully delicious bite, I will be able to tell a lot about the quality of the deli: is it the sort of place that uses Oscar Mayer lunch meat, smothers everything in Kraft mayo, and needs excessive toppings and "secret sauce" to give it flavor? or do they smoke their own turkey out back and bake their own bread every morning and it tastes so good I don't even notice they forgot the mayo?
From their recent design goals, it sounds like I am in store for a tasty sandwich indeed. I just hope they resist the urge to use bulk meats and cheeses from the warehouse grocery, or drown it in "special sauce" or whatever.
Last edited by CleverNickName; Tuesday, 1st May, 2012 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Grammar is hard.- CleverSignature
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Monday, 30th April, 2012, 05:42 PM #2
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Incoming rain of experience for making people hungry
But yes, basic "Fighters" are a good test of a system where combat is prominent. We'll see how it plays out. As always, play what you like
As always, play what you like
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 05:56 PM #3
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Comparing a fighter to a sandwich is an interesting analogy. Fitting too I suppose, as it is one of the few classes that I truly think falls into the "it is what you make of it" type systems.
Personally, a "turkey and swiss" fighter is a good baseline. Can you take a fighter, put it together quickly, smoothly, and have something good and functional? That's great if we can, but there's more to the Fighter than just turkey and swiss I think.
And I do believe that a lot of what we're hearing out of 5e is following this general design, classes should be in general, what you want them to be.
So maybe I want a roast beef with mustard, olives, pickles and jalapenos, the fighter should be versatile enough to support a variety of stylings, above and beyond I think, that of other classes and what may come from Themes and Backgrounds. This shouldn't some at some sort of a "hybrid tax", pickles on my fighter should cost just as much as olives. Putting seven different things on your fighter, that's where the cost comes in over the "turkey and swiss".
So yes, I want to see the fighter able to be as simple as a "turkey and swiss" and work just fine that way, but I also want to see triple-meat on rye with all the fixings to the point where it looks like your bun wants to explode-fighters.
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:01 PM #4
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Food analogies are always good. Personally, I want my turkey and swiss*, with the option to add some lettuce, tomato, and banana peppers--if I want, when I want. That's pretty close to how I want my fighters too.
* Well, turkey and provolone, to be more accurate.
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:05 PM #5
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Well, that brings up the question.
Do we really want lettuce and tomato to be optional? Banana peppers are clearly a specialized option, but should the core really be turkey, swiss, and two slices of bread?
Is mayonnaise involved here?
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Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:10 PM #6
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:16 PM #7
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Everyone has done the "order pizza for the gaming group" dance. I'd like something besides the lowest common denominator.
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:27 PM #8
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
I am operating under the theory that if the turkey, cheese, and bread are of sufficient quality, I won't want to reach for the extra toppings every time. It is nice to have them around, though, for those times when you want a little something different...but as long as the core ingredients can stand alone, I won't complain.
So I hope they give us a solid, delicious core of high quality ingredients, and put the more exotic special toppings into a supplemental book. But more than anything, I want them to leave off all of those superpowers, surges, mystic power sources, and other "special sauces." They drown the flavor, bro.
Last edited by CleverNickName; Monday, 30th April, 2012 at 06:31 PM.
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:39 PM #9
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Monday, 30th April, 2012, 06:40 PM #10
Defender (Lvl 8)
All I know is that now I want a sandwich.