D&D 5E Are some Fighting Styles worthless, and how could they be fixed?

I was looking at some third party altered fighting styles, and it got me thinking more about something that's been in the back of my mind for years.

Some fighting styles are utter crap.

Possible hyperbole aside, in my experience, some fighting styles are worth taking, and I think the others really need something to make them worthwhile alternatives.

The main worthwhile fighting styles are Archery, Dueling, Great Weapon Fighting (in theory), and Two-Weapon Fighting. Defense works fine as (most) every Champion's second fighting style. From the optional fighting styles introduced later, Thrown Weapon Fighting also does its job, and Unarmed Fighting works about as well as it can if you are going for that niche concept.

The others aren't worth taking over those (and neither is swapping your fighting style for a cantrip for ranger and paladin). The reason is that the fighting styles listed do something you don't want to give up. They directly (or indirectly but reliably in the case of Archery) increase your at-will, round after round damage output. That additional damage (along with your d10 HD) helps define the primary warrior classes. (Barbarians and monks have their own thing going on.) You get good hit points, extra damage with your martial weapons, and Extra Attack. Giving up that reliable, round after round extra damage is a sacrifice that needs a commensurate reward.

And those other fighting styles, just aren't.

Protection: Here's the only waste of space in the core styles. I wonder if this could be fixed by giving you the option to use it for yourself? That means imposing Disadvantage on one attack against you most rounds. How would that stack up against an additional +2 (+4 with Extra Attack, more for high level fighters) damage from Dueling for instance?

Blind Fighting: Cool concept! It will make you feel great all 4 rounds of your campaign that it matters. The rest of the time you aren't doing an extra 2 to 8 damage per round.

Interception: This might be a little better than Protection, and you can do it without a shield. But I still don't think it's worth giving up your DPR.

Superior Technique: Again, great concept. This one is, conceptually, idea for a future Battle Master to lean into their identity right away. But again, an extra 3.5 damage plus a cool and useful rider once per short rest isn't making up for the lost DPR unless you get a short rest after every 3 round fight. And if you actually do become a Battle Master, even if your DM lets you transmute the die you get from this into the size of your normal dice, you'll probably wish you had that extra DPR over one more maneuver and one more Superiority Die. This one might be salvageable if it also gave you a flat +1 damage, though it's have to only do that with some other category of weapons (like Great Weapons, or Dueling weapons, or Archery weapons, etc) to not be too good.

Great Weapon Fighting (in actuality): This one gets a dishonorable mention. If I recall my calculations, it gives you an average +1.67 damage per attack with a greatsword or maul, or about half that with a d12 weapon--which means you are locked into a greatsword or maul. If you don't mind be locked into two specific weapon choices for it to be worth it, then it's okay, and if you're a fighter getting lots of those 2d6 attacks it does its job for you.

So, any suggestions for making those other styles actually feel worth the DPR trade off for classes for whom DPR is a major part of their role and identity?
 

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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
protection, blind fighting and interception all would be way more beneficial to me if they worked at a range of at least 15ft, maybe even 20 for the blindsight, the added range gives you WAY MORE opportunity to get any mileage at all out of protection and interception and blind fighting basically now makes you immune to vision obscurement, illusions or invisible enemies.

thrown weapon fighting i'd add a 50% range boost to your thrown weapon ranges, thrown weapons are good for a STR build but they're not THAT good that they couldn't use a bit of support.

superior technique i'd make the maneuvre dice number something like CON+(2, recovered on short/long rest), CON is essential to have as a fighter but it's unlikely something you're going to max out quite as quickly as your main attacking stat so i think it works for giving a bit of an overall bump with the 2 dice that get recovered on a rest for longevity.

unarmed fighting i'd bump up the size of the die for each style, 1-h d8 and 2-h d10, this would match with using a longsword, battleaxe or warhammer, but this is always going to be nonmagic damage unless you get like, that one magic handwraps item for monk.

personally i'd let fighter learn the druidic/divine warrior fighting styles, as well as make three new ones that apply for wizard, sorcerer and bard, then make them all state you know a number of cantrips from that class equal to your score in that class' casting stat.
 

Eubani

Legend
Not only are the Fighting Style variable and largely underwhelming but are also underwhelming from the point of view of Fighters who are supposed to be the "Masters of weapons" but are only as good as anyone else with the same style. Hell even with weapon Masteries there are many classes with playtest material are better at using weapons than Fighters. I would suggest each Fighting Style and Weapon Mastery provide a little more for Fighters.
 

The extraordinarily limited nature of Superior Technique (and the Martial Adept feat) baffle me, I have to admit. Magic Adept gives you two cantrips and a 1st level spell, there's fighting styles that give you two cantrips (and all cantrips scale as you gain levels, and are of unlimited use) - but Superior technique gives you one use of one maneuver, and Martial Adept gives you one use of your choice of two maneuvers, and neither of them scale.

It seems to me like the utility of martial maneuvers is wildly overvalued compared to that of cantrips.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
I’ve found Interception to be excellent in the hands of a tactically solid player. In tier one and two play it frequently completely negates or trivializes attacks on vulnerable characters. It’s particularly useful for paladins who otherwise have little or no use for their Reactions. It’s way better than Protection, which is indeed p much garbage.

I would also argue that getting two cantrips on Paladin or Ranger is quite good. DPS isn’t the only consideration. It allows them to take Guidance, which is of course amazing non-combat utility. It allows Rangers to take Shillelagh which is way better on a ranger than a Druid and stays useful long-term as it combines with multi-attack. It allows Paladins to pick up a decent ranged cantrip in Toll the Dead, which gives them a solid ranged attack in tier 1 beyond chucking javelins (this does quickly tail off in tier 2, but you can switch the style out at level 4).
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The question with Blind Fighting is what is giving you bllndsight. It's not hearing because you don't lose it because of deafness.

Not it's an extraordinary sense to be able to sense nearby foes and attack them. That's +1 to melee weapon attack rolls.


Blind Fighting
You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn't behind total cover, even if you're blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you and you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls you make with melee weapons within 5 feet of you.

Thrown Weapon Fighting
You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon.
In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a bonus to the damage roll equal to your proficiency modifier.

Superior Technique

You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver's effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice.)
You gain two superiority die, which are d6s (this die is added to any superiority dice you have from another source). This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.
 
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