D&D (2024) 2024 Player's Handbook Reveal #2: "New Fighter"

"The Fighter is now the weapon master equivalent of the Wizard!"


"The Fighter is now the weapon master equivalent of the Wizard" (with respect to versatility).


OVERVIEW

The Fighter seems to have been mostly set in Playtest 7. Most of the features described carry over from there, though Brawler has gone and is replaced by Psi Warrior form Tasha's.
  • Ranger and Fighter have the most new features.
  • Subclasses provide "different levels of mechanical idiosyncracy".
  • Weapon mastery (level1), tactical mind (2), tactical shift (5), studied attacks (13) -- all of these are as in PT7.
  • second wind -- increased number of uses (as PT7)
  • NEW: Level 9: Tactical master is like mastery of Armaments, but limited to push. sap, and slow. These properties are now always in the fighter's pocket, regardless of the weapon used. These properties add to Battle Master abilities.
  • Fighting Styles: new options available: Blindfighting, Interception, Thrown Weapons, and Unarmed fighting (from Tasha's). (YAY for thrown weapons and unarmed fighting!). Protection style "improved".
  • NEW: You can change your fighting style when you level up.
  • NEW: All classes now get an Epic Boon at level 19, replacing the ASI.


SUBCLASSES

Battle Master:
  • they considered making the maneuvers the core of the fighter, but that would undermine the goal of different playstyles for each subclass.
  • ambush, bait and switch, commanding presence, and tactical presence all brought over from Tasha's (as PT7)
  • Student of War also gives you a skill proficiency (as PT7)
  • Know your enemy has "limited number of uses per day" (PT7 had one, IIRC)
Champion:
  • same core identity, focusing on crits.
  • Remarkable Athlete: NEW. When you score a crit, you can move without receiving opportunity attacks.
  • Remarkable Athlete: advantage on initiative and athletics (as PT7). This works with the new surprise rules, which give you an edge but "defang" the one-sidedness of surprise.
  • Additional fighting style at 7, Heroic Warrior at 10, Survivor at 18 (as PT7).
Eldritch Knight:
  • for players who played OD&D when Elf was a class...
  • with the Psi Warrior are for people who want Fighter and X (mixed).
  • no school restrictions (also for Arcane Trickster)
  • NEW: you can now use an arcane focus.
  • War Magic and Improved War Magic: as in PT7, but at level 18 you can replace two attacks with spells up to level 2 (I think this is new).
Psi Warrior:
  • changes from Tasha: changes are primarily in rewording.

NEW RULES
Epic Boon:
  • you may choose a non-epic boon feat. They include an ASI that can go past 20, and include abilities go beyond what feats normally do.
  • Example: Boon of Combat Prowess. Once per TURN, you can turn a miss to a hit. Another example: You have Truesight. Another example: when you attack or take the magic action, you also teleport.
  • The PHB now has rules to go beyond level 20. Every time you hit some XP threshold, you can choose another Epic Boon (which could take one of your scores to level 30).
Other NEW rules clarifications:
  • Heroic Inspiration which lets you re-roll any one die (may be one damage die, but not all damage dice).
  • Surprise now gives you disadvantage on your initiative. (Champion, Assassin, and Barbarian are hard to surprise -- they won't have disadvantage on init).
  • No school restrictions for Arcane Trickster or Eldrtich Knight.
 

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The Battlemaster is the more complex martial.
Yes, and it's not complex or interesting.

Haven't seen the new one yet: Have we dealt with the issue of only getting the use maneuvers once or twice an encounter because of D&D's awful obsession with attrition?
Of course not. Battlemaster still only gets to have a subclass for a few hits between naps. Their real niche is still being the Fighter subclass that can alpha strike the best, but that just makes them feel even worse for the rest of the fight.

Now, admittedly, having Topple weapon mastery means they can apply other statuses with their maneuvers (or, depending on the order of resolution, perhaps use Trip on the same hit where they see Topple failed). And swapping between weapons' for their masteries gives them more to do when they are out of dice. So they are better off, in the same way every warrior is.
 
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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Not reading all that.

Just came here to say that I playtested the Eldritch Knight, and it made me fall in love with the Fighter. I've had such a hard time playing Fighters in the past. They were just so...bland. They didn't have enough of their own identity. And all they do is hit things. I don't know. Seems weird since my favorite class is a Warlock and I have no problems just spamming Eldritch Blast. But at least Warlocks have FLAVOR. Fighters were just...plain bread. With the crust still on.

But now? I loved my EK. Loved him. He was a MONSTER. Casting Green Flame Blade along with making a second attack, switching between a Trident (he was a Sea elf) for Topple and the Nine Lives Steeler Greatsword he found for Graze. Bonding those two weapons so he could throw the Trident and summon it back to him. Having the Darkness Spell along with the Blind Fighting Style. My goodness. He was the most fun I've had playing a primarily martial character.

I am very much looking forward to making him official when the book comes out.
Great report, thank you for posting it!
 

Pauln6

Hero
I think giving fighters more versatility on weapon masteries is good but I still don't see how they give fighters and rangers enough when they are also giving them to barbarians and paladins, who really didn't need any better combat options in the first place.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So, what about Out Of Combat (OOC)? No extra amount of skill proficiencies (if any /s) would make them more reliable if the DCs for common tasks differ too much by table and DM... (and don't even mention niche robbing spells like Knock still existing AFAIK)
Fighters can burn a Second Wind to add 1d10 to an ability check. If they still fail, the Second Wind isn't spent.

Basically anytime a Fighter rolls under 10, they can add +5.5 to the roll.

Encourages fighters to attempt anything the DM describes as hard.
 

Iosue

Legend
I think giving fighters more versatility on weapon masteries is good but I still don't see how they give fighters and rangers enough when they are also giving them to barbarians and paladins, who really didn't need any better combat options in the first place.
This has always been my one gripe about 5e. Even in the original playtest, every time they came up with a cool system for the fighter, they’d follow up by giving it to all non-casters. Eventually, Maneuvers became the lone system for the Battlemaster, but it would have been nice for the whole class to have something no other class got.

Or at least, if they had to give Fighting Styles to paladins and rangers, let Fighters cycle through multiple Styles between turns, like stances.
 

Pauln6

Hero
Is there design space to customise battlemasters more along the lines of particular fighting techniques?


Possibly special enhanced battlemaster manoeuvres that you get if you pick a silo of standard manoeuvres might be cool, so if you pick 3 out of the various warlord manoeuvres, you gain access to a couple of superior warlord style manoeuvres or enhanced class features. Maybe a feat with tge manoeuvres as a prerequisite?
 

Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
Is there design space to customise battlemasters more along the lines of particular fighting techniques?


Possibly special enhanced battlemaster manoeuvres that you get if you pick a silo of standard manoeuvres might be cool, so if you pick 3 out of the various warlord manoeuvres, you gain access to a couple of superior warlord style manoeuvres or enhanced class features. Maybe a feat with tge manoeuvres as a prerequisite?
Like TCE pgs 46-47 crossed with 3.x feat chains? That would be nice if it were in the upcoming PHB24, but I suppose it would depend on how much page count they had to devote to Fighters. Maybe they'll do something similar in a future splat book.
 

I think giving fighters more versatility on weapon masteries is good but I still don't see how they give fighters and rangers enough when they are also giving them to barbarians and paladins, who really didn't need any better combat options in the first place.
Keep in mind that many of the other weapon classes have had their damage-increasing shticks altered to fit with the added Weapon mastery and the broader flexibility they've received. For instance, the Paladin's smite isn't the same as before, as it occurs less often, while their other abilities got buffed so they are better in other ways, like with refined subclass damage buffs, Lay on Hands being a great defensive option opposite Smite, and Auras becoming a better combat buff for everyone, etc.

Basically, all classes have been adjusted to a new watermark, to provide a great combat experience that fits for the class fantasy in question. Now we just need to play them to see if the designers delivered on their design.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
This has always been my one gripe about 5e. Even in the original playtest, every time they came up with a cool system for the fighter, they’d follow up by giving it to all non-casters. Eventually, Maneuvers became the lone system for the Battlemaster, but it would have been nice for the whole class to have something no other class got.

Or at least, if they had to give Fighting Styles to paladins and rangers, let Fighters cycle through multiple Styles between turns, like stances.
Level Up's combat maneuver system addresses this issue. Many classes get access to some techniques from some traditions, but only fighters get access to all techniques from all traditions, and they generally get more points to spend on them too. Of course, LU fighters get a bunch of other stuff that makes them more interesting mechanically than anything WotC has come up with too (although 5.5 does seem like an improvement in this area).
 

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