D&D 5E Another Fighter: the "Heroic" Fighter

Tinker-TDC

Explorer
UPDATE: Added a first draft of the Tactician martial archetype to the OP. Some of the features are probably OP, but that is why it is a draft LOL!
Gotta ask, why would the Tactician have an option to scale off of Charisma rather than Intelligence? Especially now that it's separated from Warlord it seems like Tactician's the obvious choice for an INT Fighter.
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
Because the fighter is incredibly fit and meant to be fast moving. As per previous discussions I don't think that niche protection is in and of itself worth much. If a fighter and a rogue look the same things have gone wrong.
Well, IMO some things have definitely gone wrong, but that is also mostly because the class that is supposed to be the best at combat simply isn't. Now, certain you could ramp up the fighter even more than I have done. I've tried to offer perks and versatility and a bit more damage potential with out going crazy.

AC is only useful in combat. That their equipment gives them disadvantage on stealth is a penalty almost uniquely paid by the fighter and the paladin (and some clerics) and makes the fighter the single least useful out of combat class; they have the joint fewest skills, have literally no additional out of combat abilities and, unlike other classes, have their normal equipment giving them disadvantage on a skill.
IME nearly all Paladins and most Clerics (not even some) suffer the same issue when in Heavy Armor, but that is also because the other classes benefit more (or at least nearly as much) by wearing other armors. I'll not dispute what you are saying otherwise, I just don't think Stealthing is normally the role of Fighters.

It's adding insult to injury and means that the fighter is in joint 12th place out of 13 for out of combat usefulness even in an anti-magic field.

Out of 13 classes in 5e 9 are casters. All these caster classes can carry mixed loadouts. And all these caster classes have at least as many skills as a fighter. If something's either an issue with two classes (fighter and barbarian) or nine (all casters) then it's the two that have the problem.
Oh, I agree, but again I don't think upping fighters is the solution as much as nerfing casters, but again that is another issue.

Frankly, I feel there are way too many casting classes, but I am swimming against the tide in this instance, sadly.

Again, I don't think that this is a good thing because it inhibits RP for me. Under pressure everyone pitches in and should be able to learn. The sort of niche protection you seem to want I'd say undermines the range of balanced characters possible.
IME if people want more "all-purpose" characters, the route is either subclasses or multiclassing to get that. Could you describe (in detail) an example of inhibited RP you've experienced, so I can have a better understanding?

Off the top of my head:
  1. We've either run into Arcane Lock or expect to; I can knock doors open the rogue simply can't. The problem is with the game
  2. Is our party stable to the point we can 100% guarantee having a rogue?
  3. As a backup for when the rogue fails
  4. Is my character always working with the party anyway?
  5. (3.5 answer) Because I don't just have a spellbook, I have a loose leaf binder full of utility spells.
I could probably continue.

Sure. I could bring invisibility...

Being serious possibly. And possibly not. Are arcane locks showing up? Is the rogue always showing up?
See, again issues like this reflect more on how unbalanced casters are more so than the fact a fighter can't do these things.

Unfortunately, people don't like having their toys taken away from them, but that is what I think is the best solution to 90% of the problems. Any spell that has utility to replace something a PC can do makes any PC (not just fighters) practically obsolete, depending on the scenario.

Anyway, I know often we butt heads more than have fruitful conversations, so I want you to know I appreciate this back-and-forth and look forward to your responses.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
See, again issues like this reflect more on how unbalanced casters are more so than the fact a fighter can't do these things.

Unfortunately, people don't like having their toys taken away from them, but that is what I think is the best solution to 90% of the problems. Any spell that has utility to replace something a PC can do makes any PC (not just fighters) practically obsolete, depending on the scenario.
Yep. Functionally, you can boost martials to the power level of casters, OR you can make casters as limited in scope as martials (I would do this by making them less useful in combat), but those are two different solutions that create two different games.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
So, yours is 102 HP/short rest over 4 uses. My problem is each use is dramatically junk. Your HP barely move past low levels when you use it.

At low levels? 6.5 HP at level 1 is a huge swing. A level 1 fighter with 14 con has 12 HP, so 6.5 is half their HP bar. That feels like something worth mentioning at the table. By level 10, 15.5 HP is something you don't even bother saying. Level so, 25.5 is similarly anemic.

Mine (level/2 d10 + level) at level 20 is 75 HP. This is less than your 102, but instead of being an anemic event on every use, it is a dramatic turn around moment; a level 20 fighter with 16 con has 184 HP. 75 HP is 40% of their HP, a significant swing.

Meanwhile, 25 HP is 13%, you can barely see that on a visual HP bar.

Activated abilities should have impact when activated. This is not really a balance concern, but rather a gameplay concern.
Again, while it is an activated ability, it is a bonus action, not an action. So, I don't expect it to heal as much. It is meant more (IMO) to help keep you alive until you can regroup, not instantly get you back in the fight.

But your point is noted, I'll update the OP with the suggestion, and also discuss it with my own group when we meet. :)

Action Surge is the single most powerful fighter ability. Making it worse isn't a great plan.

Versatility means very little if your options suck compared to the alternative. In fact, your action surge is better for non-fighters than it is for fighters, because non-fighter action economy doesn't rely on Extra Attack.

Heck, get a cantrip and your fighters action surge extra attack becomes less anemic. Let alone the use for a spellcasters, who can still dip fighter 2 and get 2 full spells out of it. Meanwhile, the fighter gets a half-attack action (or worse).
It really doesn't make it worse. At worst you are losing 1 attack when used during certain levels. My method allows fighter to Dash, Dodge, Help, Use Objects, and other things which can have significant impact in a fight.

A fighter who can attack 6 times AND dodge is better off than one attacking 8 times depending on the scenario.

FWIW, it won't help spellcasters as you cannot cast two spells regardless of using Action Surge. The only way you can ever (TMK) cast two spells is the bonus action spell + cantrip option.

Ah. I assume then you aren't trying to balance for multiclassing?

Because a fighter 2 dip gives action surge (great for spellcasters) and up to 6 short rest 1d4 precision attacks.
Yeah, this was a concern of mine. Originally I didn't have maneuvers for fighters until level 3 because of it. The idea was:

Level 1: Fighting Style, Second Wind
Level 2: Action Surge
Level 3: Martial Maneuvers
Level 4: Indomitable

But in discussing it with others moving it to level 2 seemed ok. What do you think about moving it back to 3rd level??

Possibly you are valuing versatility highly? I mean, "more fighting styles" is being treated as an important feature, not as a ribbon, seems to indicate you are. ("More picks from same list" almost always means that the 2nd pick is worse than the first. Sometimes you can manage synergy that wouldn't otherwise exist; the only one I'm aware of in fighting styles is archery + dueling with a thrown weapon.

Getting utility fighting styles like blindfighting and the like is fun, or interception to use your reaction, but there isn't super-linear synergy here.)
Yes, I definitely value versatility highly both for gameplay and just allowing more fun by having more options of things you can do or how you interact with things.

If you see my post upthread about Fighting Styles you'll see our game allows you to upgrade your current style instead of just learning a new one, and we added some styles as well.

Otherwise, it was meant more for being able to switch styles/roles if you just you the base styles. Otherwise I agree the synergy isn't often high. If you have time look at the fighting style improvements upthread and share your thoughts on them. We are still play-testing them.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Gotta ask, why would the Tactician have an option to scale off of Charisma rather than Intelligence? Especially now that it's separated from Warlord it seems like Tactician's the obvious choice for an INT Fighter.
Yeah, the features I came up with seemed to be more Wis/Cha based not Int. Some features will be removed or changed I am sure from draft #1, and if you have any suggestions feel free to share them. :)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Again, while it is an activated ability, it is a bonus action, not an action. So, I don't expect it to heal as much. It is meant more (IMO) to help keep you alive until you can regroup, not instantly get you back in the fight.
I'm describing its use at level 1, where it does get you back into the fight. And when it is a cool ability.

It really doesn't make it worse. At worst you are losing 1 attack when used during certain levels. My method allows fighter to Dash, Dodge, Help, Use Objects, and other things which can have significant impact in a fight.
Standard action surge caps out at +8 attacks over 2 rounds per short rest.
Yours caps out lower than +7. So no, more than 1 attack.

A fighter who can attack 6 times AND dodge is better off than one attacking 8 times depending on the scenario.

FWIW, it won't help spellcasters as you cannot cast two spells regardless of using Action Surge. The only way you can ever (TMK) cast two spells is the bonus action spell + cantrip option.
That is a houserule.

The rules for casting spells state that when you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can only cast another spell if it is a cantrip.

The rules for casting spells do not prevent you from casting fireball, action surge, and casting fireball again.

It is a common houserule, but the rule "you can only cast 1 leveled spell on your turn" is a houserule and not what D&D 5e says. I prefer it to the D&D 5e rule, as it is simpler and deals with counter-counter spell better.
Yeah, this was a concern of mine. Originally I didn't have maneuvers for fighters until level 3 because of it. The idea was:

Level 1: Fighting Style, Second Wind
Level 2: Action Surge
Level 3: Martial Maneuvers
Level 4: Indomitable

But in discussing it with others moving it to level 2 seemed ok. What do you think about moving it back to 3rd level??
I'm just pointing out that "proficiency bonus uses" runs into that problem.

When you are talking about something that uses up your action, "proficiency bonus" size or uses isn't that bad. When it doesn't use up your action, then "proficiency bonus uses" scales extremely well when multiclassing.

You'll note I chose something that wasn't raw damage (precision). If it was just 1d4 damage proficiency bonus times, that also is multiclassing-safe.

But proficiency bonus uses of action-free resource whose effectiveness scales with character level runs is multiclassing bait; it is far better as a dip ability than it is for the original class when it was gotten.
Yes, I definitely value versatility highly both for gameplay and just allowing more fun by having more options of things you can do or how you interact with things.
Sure.

Hence my thought.

Action Surge:
On your turn you can take the Dash, Dodge, Use an Object, Disengage, Help, or Hide action and make a single attack without using your action on your turn. You must be capable of performing actions of your choice to do this, but this is not an action. You can do this at most once per turn.

If you use your action surge on a turn, your carrying capacity and jumping distance is doubled until the start of your next turn.

You can do this once before completing a short or long rest at level 2, increasing to twice at level 5 and three times at level 17.

Extra Attack
At 11th level when you take the Attack action, you can attack 3 times instead of twice. In addition, when you Action Surge, you can attack twice instead of once as part of the Action Surge.

At 20th level when you take the Attack action, you can attack 4 times instead of twice. In addition, when you Action Surge, you can attack three times instead of once as part of the Action Surge.

This gives you a pile of versatility along side offensive abilities. On an action surge turn you get stuff done.

It isn't as quite as good of an alpha strike at level 5+ as the baseline action surge. And it doesn't work with Gloomstalker 3 and some other similar abilities; you'll note you cannot use it to cast even a cantrip.

This also fits the "when the player uses an ability, make it have a big impact" if you can balance it. Instead of "do I choose between dash, jumping further and making an attack", when you use this action surge you attack and dash and jump further. You become an action hero for a turn.

If you see my post upthread about Fighting Styles you'll see our game allows you to upgrade your current style instead of just learning a new one, and we added some styles as well.

Otherwise, it was meant more for being able to switch styles/roles if you just you the base styles. Otherwise I agree the synergy isn't often high. If you have time look at the fighting style improvements upthread and share your thoughts on them. We are still play-testing them.
I'm suggesting you can roll back "extra fighting styles" a bit, and instead have a Superior Fighting style feature of the fighter.

At certain levels, the fighting styles they have get better in a way that matches your "take a fighting style more than once".

This makes the superior fighting styles the domain of the fighter. And more fighting styles is almost pure diversity; in fact, you could limit the fighter to having 1 active at a time to make more fighting styles all about diversity.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Standard action surge caps out at +8 attacks over 2 rounds per short rest.
Yours caps out lower than +7. So no, more than 1 attack.
LOL fine, it is more than 1 attack for 1 round per short rest at the highest tier of play...

Regardless, I stand by my decision. Versatility is more important to me and makes the fighter a more interesting class to play over all than that single round per short rest of being a blender. :)

FWIW, I am not saying you are wrong or anything for your view, just they do not coincide with mine.

Action Surge:
On your turn you can take the Dash, Dodge, Use an Object, Disengage, Help, or Hide action and make a single attack without using your action on your turn. You must be capable of performing actions of your choice to do this, but this is not an action. You can do this at most once per turn.

If you use your action surge on a turn, your carrying capacity and jumping distance is doubled until the start of your next turn.

You can do this once before completing a short or long rest at level 2, increasing to twice at level 5 and three times at level 17.

Extra Attack
At 11th level when you take the Attack action, you can attack 3 times instead of twice. In addition, when you Action Surge, you can attack twice instead of once as part of the Action Surge.

At 20th level when you take the Attack action, you can attack 4 times instead of twice. In addition, when you Action Surge, you can attack three times instead of once as part of the Action Surge.

This gives you a pile of versatility along side offensive abilities. On an action surge turn you get stuff done.

It isn't as quite as good of an alpha strike at level 5+ as the baseline action surge. And it doesn't work with Gloomstalker 3 and some other similar abilities; you'll note you cannot use it to cast even a cantrip.

This also fits the "when the player uses an ability, make it have a big impact" if you can balance it. Instead of "do I choose between dash, jumping further and making an attack", when you use this action surge you attack and dash and jump further. You become an action hero for a turn.
I'll have to give this more thought later tonight as I don't have time at the moment.

I'm suggesting you can roll back "extra fighting styles" a bit, and instead have a Superior Fighting style feature of the fighter.

At certain levels, the fighting styles they have get better in a way that matches your "take a fighting style more than once".
That was the original model, with Fighting Style Improvement and later Fighting Style Mastery, based on the post upthread with Intermediate and Advanced degrees for each style.

For this thread, since I really didn't want to get into the stuff from my 5E mod, I went with the more generic additional fighting style approach.

This makes the superior fighting styles the domain of the fighter. And more fighting styles is almost pure diversity; in fact, you could limit the fighter to having 1 active at a time to make more fighting styles all about diversity.
FWIW, in the mod only the Fighter got Intermediate and Advanced fighting style options, or they could pick up the basics of another style for synergy.

I've thought about the idea of limiting it to one style at a time, but it just seemed too fiddly to me. But maybe people would like it more than not?
 


So, here is yet another attempt (or revision from prior attempts) at a "heroic" fighter class. By "heroic" I mean things that are feasible by real world standards, even if they really stretch the bounds of plausibility. While extreme potentially, they are not meant to be "super heroic", but can certainly approach it.

For example, this version would fit in a Hercules or Xena style game; not something more mundane or super heroic.

First off, thanks for clearly laying out the parameters. This is clearly the "action hero" / "let's improve on the FIghter Chasis even if flawed" excercise and not the "Mythic Martial" exercise. Very clear.

I am somewhat less interested in this version as I think the Level Up Fighter does this decently well.

That said, looks like some great ideas that are additive to the option space for this Heroic Fighter!

I don't know if it is within scope, but one suggestion would be to add some gated Manuvers to pick at higher levels.

It doesn't have to be as extensive as LU, but say 2 higher level options to pick from at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 15th could go a long way. Maybe use the LU ones as inspiration.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
First off, thanks for clearly laying out the parameters. This is clearly the "action hero" / "let's improve on the FIghter Chasis even if flawed" excercise and not the "Mythic Martial" exercise. Very clear.
No problem and I am happy to be clear about my design goals. If people read the posts carefully so they know what I am trying to accomplish, it saves time and frustration all around.

I am somewhat less interested in this version as I think the Level Up Fighter does this decently well.
Since I don't have LU and don't plan to get it, I have to make do with what I can come up with on my own. 🤷‍♂️

I don't know if it is within scope, but one suggestion would be to add some gated Manuvers to pick at higher levels.

It doesn't have to be as extensive as LU, but say 2 higher level options to pick from at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 15th could go a long way. Maybe use the LU ones as inspiration.
I am not familiar with "gated Maneuvers", could you elaborate?
 

I am not familiar with "gated Maneuvers", could you elaborate?

Like Warblade and spellcasters. Level requirements for taking certain manuvers.

So like spells you can have more powerful stuff "gated" by certain levels and not immediately available.

Gives more design space for more powerful manuvers since they can't be selected immediately and also solves the issue of "I'm picking a manuver at higher levels now that I didn't think was good enough to be in my first round of choices..."

LU Fighter goes all in on this, but I'm just suggesting maybe 2 additional options to choose at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 15th where you need to be 5th level etc. to take.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
So notes on the Warlord:

I LOVE having a new Leadership feature. 11/10. Would Play.

Inspiring Action's movement power is too powerful. Either half speed with no AO, or just full speed, IMO. Remember that this is bonus movement.
 


IME nearly all Paladins and most Clerics (not even some) suffer the same issue when in Heavy Armor, but that is also because the other classes benefit more (or at least nearly as much) by wearing other armors. I'll not dispute what you are saying otherwise, I just don't think Stealthing is normally the role of Fighters.
Only fighters, paladins, and some clerics are proficient in heavy armour by default in 5e. And stealth is one of those skills where secondary stealth can matter. There's almost no merit in a second person in the party having Thieves' Tools as only one person can get at the lock at a time. But there are times when you want the entire party to stealth past a bored sentry - and being the worst in the party is a problem. (Never mind that thanks to 5e armour rules non-heavy armour wearers seem to have a median Dex of 14).
Frankly, I feel there are way too many casting classes, but I am swimming against the tide in this instance, sadly.
Frankly I feel it's not the number of classes - it's that wizards get access to everything (and clerics and druids do similar). My preferred approach would be to dump the wizard entirely - and add a number of sorcerer subclasses for some of the schools (especially one for necromancy). And if there isn't already one an illusionist bard.
Anyway, I know often we butt heads more than have fruitful conversations, so I want you to know I appreciate this back-and-forth and look forward to your responses.
Thanks - and me too.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
But there are times when you want the entire party to stealth past a bored sentry - and being the worst in the party is a problem.
Then often the Fighter might be towards the bottom, but there is a good chance the Cleric is as well as any Paladins.

If the entire group needs to stealth past a location, you'll probably fail because someone will roll poorly. Spells like Pass Without Trace because almost a necessity if you want an entire party to stealth anywhere IME.

Frankly I feel it's not the number of classes - it's that wizards get access to everything (and clerics and druids do similar). My preferred approach would be to dump the wizard entirely - and add a number of sorcerer subclasses for some of the schools (especially one for necromancy). And if there isn't already one an illusionist bard.
I am not for dumping the Wizard class, itself, but I agree that having specialist schools (with non-access opposition schools) is better and want to see one of two types of casters (not just wizards):

1. the generalist. you won't have powerful spells, but you'll have a wide variety you can cast fairly often.
2. the specialist. your focus is going far and fast, you have very few spells and can't cast them often, but they are powerful.

To your point, a generalist might have access to a lot of different types of spells, but their spell progression would be delayed and many would focus on utility IMO.

As where the generalist would progress RAW as far as spell level is concerned, but would have maybe half the slots. Also, they would have restrictions on what they can access, like maybe just one to three schools.

Anyway, I am meeting to play tomorrow so I'll post about some of my discussion with the table probably Sunday.
 

Then often the Fighter might be towards the bottom, but there is a good chance the Cleric is as well as any Paladins.

If the entire group needs to stealth past a location, you'll probably fail because someone will roll poorly. Spells like Pass Without Trace because almost a necessity if you want an entire party to stealth anywhere IME.
Depends on your DM - and on who you're stealthing past. You can't go past anywhere serious - but bored and distractable guards, yes. (And I encourage my players to do this).
I am not for dumping the Wizard class, itself, but I agree that having specialist schools (with non-access opposition schools) is better and want to see one of two types of casters (not just wizards):

1. the generalist. you won't have powerful spells, but you'll have a wide variety you can cast fairly often.
2. the specialist. your focus is going far and fast, you have very few spells and can't cast them often, but they are powerful.

To your point, a generalist might have access to a lot of different types of spells, but their spell progression would be delayed and many would focus on utility IMO.

As where the generalist would progress RAW as far as spell level is concerned, but would have maybe half the slots. Also, they would have restrictions on what they can access, like maybe just one to three schools.
I'm not even sure the generalist is a desirable thing given the history of D&D - although 4e and 5e do it the right way by making specialists beter at their own spells than generalists are.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Depends on your DM - and on who you're stealthing past. You can't go past anywhere serious - but bored and distractable guards, yes. (And I encourage my players to do this).
So, an interesting happened in our game today. As DM, normally if the entire party is trying to stealth I have every one roll for their PCs and use the lowest roll vs. the passive perceptions (or rolls if paying attention). Of course, someone usually rolls low, so it makes it really hard for the group to stealth.

Today I took a different approach, perhaps something overlooked or never really thought applicable to stealth... working together (group checks). So, if half the group makes the check vs. the passive perceptions, the whole group succeeds.

This allows even the fighter in heavy armor to make it because the more proficient character help them and show them what to do, etc.

I've never done it this way before, I honestly it worked well and I liked it, so I'll probably apply it to stealth and other skills more often in the future.

I'm not even sure the generalist is a desirable thing given the history of D&D - although 4e and 5e do it the right way by making specialists beter at their own spells than generalists are.
Well, it was really the default in many ways, the specialist not being introduced until 2E, when school specialists got an extra spell slot of each spell level IIRC. I don't see 5E doing it at all, so I am not sure how you think 5E does it the right way? Having never played 4E, I can't say.
 

Today I took a different approach, perhaps something overlooked or never really thought applicable to stealth... working together (group checks). So, if half the group makes the check vs. the passive perceptions, the whole group succeeds.

This allows even the fighter in heavy armor to make it because the more proficient character help them and show them what to do, etc.
Oh definitely. Me, I prefer something more like skill challenges where the proficient people get to help - but it's a decent simple way to do things. And it does penalise the fighter slightly.
Well, it was really the default in many ways, the specialist not being introduced until 2E, when school specialists got an extra spell slot of each spell level IIRC. I don't see 5E doing it at all, so I am not sure how you think 5E does it the right way? Having never played 4E, I can't say.
That's not quite true. 1e had Illusionists which were a specialist as a curated separate class and school specialists were introduced with Unearthed Arcana. But with specialist wizards in UA, 2e, and 3.X you got more spells of your specialty (or in the case of diviners in 3.X you had one divination spell per level as a freebie and were only locked out of one school). In 4e and 5e your spells in the school you've focused on get extra effects - so for example evocation specialists get to protect allies from ground zero evocations while high enough level illusionists can make their illusions part real. Far more interesting and evocative than just extra spells.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
That's not quite true. 1e had Illusionists which were a specialist as a curated separate class and school specialists were introduced with Unearthed Arcana.
Really? I just looked through UA and there is nothing about specialists other than the Illusionist subclass, which I totally forgot about in 1E lol!

Yes, in that one case/school, they made it into a whole subclass with spells all its own. But nothing in UA about any other sort of specialist wizard. Not until 2E came out did we really have specialists for each school.

In 4e and 5e your spells in the school you've focused on get extra effects - so for example evocation specialists get to protect allies from ground zero evocations while high enough level illusionists can make their illusions part real. Far more interesting and evocative than just extra spells.
Oh, I see what you mean about 5E then. Most of the school traditions really aren't that great IMO so I wasn't even thinking of them... IMO really only Divination and Transmutation has much to offer.

Personally, I would love a "generalist" subclass for Wizard myself. The only wizard (multiclassed) I played in 5E so far was War Magic, and even that I wasn't thrilled with. Other players in my games have been Divination and Abjuration only I think...
 

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