Homebrew Fighter subclasses for every ability score
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  1. #1
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    Fighter subclasses for every ability score

    One of the differences between fighter subclasses and subclasses for other classes is that fighter subclasses tend more to favor mechanical rather then thematic interpretations. I'm not saying this to judge, but rather as an introduction that I was thinking about a mechanical set of melee fighter subclasses - one for each ability score. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on interesting play goals and mechanics for them.

    Just for now, think about these in a vacuum. No other fighter subclasses, heck no other classes. So it's okay if there's overlap with rogue or whatever.

    Right now, I'm focusing on the martial (non-casting) and melee.

    Here's a partial list of names and ideas, but feel free to override them with your own ideas.

    Brute [STR]
    Exactly what it says on the package. Non-finesse weapons, big damage. Might steal from the actual Brute subclas or take some inspiration from the Barbarian. Fairly close to existing, but still feel free to suggest.

    Skirmisher[DEX]
    Ability to get into engagement and out. Finesse tricks, maybe inspired by battlemasters with increased focus. What types of features would encourage medium and light armor use? Or even unarmored.

    Tank [CON]
    Okay, needs a better name. But the unmovable object, good at taking hits and staying up. Maybe throw in some defender-y features.

    Tactical Fighter [INT]
    Okay, the smart fighter. One who has knowledge, and quickness of wits, and out-plays foes.Ability to use INT instead of DEX for Init and AC. What types of features for tricking opponents?

    ?? [WIS]
    Not sure about this. One is the aware fighter - one who can read their opponent and use it. Other is more of a determinator - one who's willpower lets them just power through things that would bring lesser men to their knees. Like Batman. (Batman is, of course, used as both an example of The Determinator and an example of a thing that can bring men to their knees.) What are your thoughts on the thematic design for WIS - feel free to come up with something else.

    Leader [CHR]
    Okay, someone who wins their own fights through the force of their personality - causing foes to flinch, misread, dooubt themselves, whatever - and winning battles by leading men. I hesitate to even mention "warlord" in conjunction for the second part because I know a subclass won't satisfy the long-suffering true believers, but instead saying that we can take some inspiration from the warlord for features for this subclass.

    So, what mechanically and thematically belongs in these? Feel free to contradict my ideas, just trying to get a brainstorm going.
    Last edited by Blue; Monday, 10th June, 2019 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Fixed typo in title
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  2. #2
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    I'd love subclasses to add different attribute options to existing classes. I would be satisfied with a feat that did so.

    I am interested in what pathfinder does in this direction.

    For me, a perfect dnd 6e would allow more with ability scores. I think a saving throw for each of them is nice but it could be even better.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    I hesitate to even mention "warlord" in conjunction for the second part because I know a subclass won't satisfy the long-suffering true believers, but instead saying that we can take some inspiration from the warlord for features for this subclass.
    Heh. Fighter archetypes base on physical stats & warlord on mental would make sense...

    ...but, really, "true believer" aside, 5e could have given the Fighter every toy it ever got, in every edition, plus every toy the theif/rogue ever got in every edition, plus all the warlords goodies, and not cracked Tier 2.
    There'd be nothing wrong with folding the Warlord into a Fighter, just, not the hardwired for Tanky, multi-attacking DPR, 5e fighter - It's just not upgradeable, no expansion slots, y'know.


    One of the differences between fighter subclasses and subclasses for other classes is that fighter subclasses tend more to favor mechanical rather then thematic interpretations. I'm not saying this to judge,
    Maybe not, but it's the opposite of what they said they were fundamentally going for with 5e design.

    Skirmisher[DEX]
    What types of features would encourage medium and light armor use? Or even unarmored.
    The way light armor works already encourages it for high-Dex characters
    Unarmored? IDK, proficiency to AC?

    Tank [CON]
    Okay, needs a better name.
    Defender? Stalwart? Legionary?
    Tactical Fighter [INT]
    What types of features for tricking opponents?
    Tricks (deception) might be more the CHA style. Arms tailored to the target might be something. Countering special abilities, bypassing resistance, exploiting vulnerabilities.
    [WIS]
    Not sure about this. One is the aware fighter - one who can read their opponent and use it.
    Actually a Guard - who's actually good at his job for the first time in D&D history - would be a possibility. A sniper also makes sense - about calm, deliberate attacks and spotting targets.
    [CHR]
    Okay, someone who wins their own fights through the force of their personality - causing foes to flinch, misread, dooubt themselves, whatever
    Could be the flamboyant duelist who psychs-out and tricks his opponents, the Hector who taunts them, or the warrior focused on intimidation and personal courage.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Sunday, 9th June, 2019 at 03:15 AM.
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  4. #4
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    One thing I do when I design archetypes is look at the monster features list on DMG p280 to see if I can steal existing features and give them to the class.
    For exemple:

    The Tank (Con-fighter): Lets call it the Dreadnought
    Here's a list of monster feature that we could use to create it:
    - Charge (centaur)
    - Immutable Form (golems)
    - Damage absorption(golems)
    - Regeneration (Troll)
    - Sure-footed (beasts)
    etc

    Or the Delver (Int-fighter)
    - Avoidance (demi-lich)
    - Keen senses
    - Labyrinthine Recall
    - Slippery
    - Darkvision

    You can quickly make archetypes fitting your vision with those.
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  5. #5
    Since we're not worried about stepping on the toes of other classes, for the Wis sub, I'd borrow heavily from the Weapon focus Monk variants.

    [WIS] - Kensai, Swordsage, Dervish? - Rather than focusing on brute strength of tactical training, the Wisdom Fighter functions on a mixture of intuition and meditative training the builds muscle memory. Give them "Stances" which grant bonuses, but also limit them in some way. I.E. This stance can only be used with a single light weapon and a free hand, this stance can only be used with a heavy weapon, This stance gives you a damage bonus but you cannot use the disengage action, etc.

    [INT] - Tactician - Borrow heavily from Battle Master.

    [CHA] - Duelist/Gladiator - The preformative Fighter. Special powers should let you do things like distract or dazzle opponents. Inflict your CHA mod as a PENALTY on enemies. Feint successfully to gain advantage on attacks. Fake a serious wound or even death to gain some sort of leg up. NO Cha to dmg, ac, or init. Cha checks as bonus actions to do things like pull an enemy, lose an enemy, or impose penalties/grant bonuses. Skirt up against Bard College of Swords and College of Valor, but on a Fighter non-caster frame.
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  6. #6
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    You know, inching in on the territory of the Barbarian, Bard, monk, paladin, and ranger might be okay, as an option for people who want to play an archetype that leans that way but without the magic. I do agree that the core subclasses focus too much on mechanics and don't have identify of their own.

    Your idea to look at the ability scores does lead to some good fighter archetypes. The brute (con), the tactician (int), the weapon master (Wis), and the hero (Cha) all suggest archetypes rather than just mechanics.

    I don't feel like a STR/dex melee concept lends itself to an archetype, though. Those archetypes feel better served by the Rogue. I'm seeing a fast striking melee warrior, someone who lacks the weapon master's artful techniques and focus, but that isn't screaming a character to me, just a mechanic. Unless "warrior" feels like an archetype separate from a big brute.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Heh. Fighter archetypes base on physical stats & warlord on mental would make sense...

    ...but, really, "true believer" aside, 5e could have given the Fighter every toy it ever got, in every edition, plus every toy the theif/rogue ever got in every edition, plus all the warlords goodies, and not cracked Tier 2.
    There'd be nothing wrong with folding the Warlord into a Fighter, just, not the hardwired for Tanky, multi-attacking DPR, 5e fighter - It's just not upgradeable, no expansion slots, y'know.
    It is interesting how Action Surge and Extra Attack 3 and 4 really do lock the fighter in to a specific play style. The fighter could have been better suited with bigger subclasses and a little less on the core chasis, hu?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeviat View Post
    It is interesting how Action Surge and Extra Attack 3 and 4 really do lock the fighter in to a specific play style. The fighter could have been better suited with bigger subclasses and a little less on the core chasis, hu?
    I dont think Extra Attack is the feature that take ''too much'' place in the core chasis. I think the main offender is the extra feats at level 6 and 14. Many classes gain an archetype feature at those levels and I honestly believe that those two level slot could a been better used to develop a little more the identity of the archetype witch ribbons and utility features.
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  9. #9
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    I'd see an Int fighter as making a lot of studied, precise strikes, and working with their allies to make coordinated attacks. Maybe features like "Sacrifice one of your attacks to identify a target's weakness. The target is vulnerable to the next attack that targets them." or "Sacrifice one of your attacks and choose one of your allies. The next time that ally takes the Attack action, they may make one additional attack that has advantage." Upgraded critical chances would work well here, also.

    A Wisdom fighter I would see as being more defensive. Sacrifice attacks to gain additional reactions, which can be used to make parries. Blindsight in a 10' radius, increasing to 30' at higher levels. Upgraded and extra uses of Indomitable. Maybe healing on use of indomitable? Unarmored defense as level 3 ribbon (10+Dex+Wis+shield) also seems to support the trope.

    Since so much of the fighter's power is baked into the Extra Attack (2) ability for tier 3, I'd argue that making subclass features that can sacrifice one or more attacks is a good way to broaden a subclass power budget without making the overall build more powerful.

    Also, if the Con and mental stat subclasses don't have a "+Main stat to attack and damage" feature, you'd need to increase their overall subclass feature power. Even with the extra ASI's, a fighter dependent on Dex/Str for attack bonus is going to raise Dex/Str first before a mental stat unless the features are overwhelmingly useful.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    I dont think Extra Attack is the feature that take ''too much'' place in the core chasis. I think the main offender is the extra feats at level 6 and 14.
    5e scales most clearly in terms of hp/damage, and the fan base lives* to calculate DPR. So 5e 'balance' overvalues DPR, and, the Fighter, Mr Best At Combat (with weapons, without magic), gets little else.

    The bonus ASIs give the Fighter a tiny amount of versatility at the build-design phase, so they're a godsend for any theorycrafter who wishes to prove the Fighter can 'do' something or meet some metric. But the practical benefit to an actual individual fighter, in play, is getting his ASI/second-choice feat 2 levels early.

    I honestly believe that those two level slot could a been better used to develop a little more the identity of the archetype witch ribbons and utility features.
    Honestly you could give The fighter all of those you wanted.






    * that was s'posedto be 'loves' but I think I'll let autocorrect have it's way on this one.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Sunday, 9th June, 2019 at 05:23 PM.
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