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

ECMO3

Hero
or they could all use a bit of buffing to bring them closer to all the fullcasters

There is no logical reason to do that if all the other non-casters are worse. Giving Barbarians, Monks and Rogues fighting styles could improve this, but it would be very unpopular I think.

Additionally, Rangers and Paladins are the median classes in 5E. Those are the "average" classes and if we are looking at fighters and other martials, changes that reduce the gap between fighters and these classes improve balance overall. In this respecr, making changes to nerf Dueling and Archery would be a bigger debuf to Paladins (who tend to favor dueling) and Rangers (who tend to favor Archery) than it would be to fighters, bringing these two classes closer to the other 4 martials.

Most Fighters tend to take GWF, Defense or Superior Technique, so the debuffs to Dueling and Archery fighting styles would actually help fighters overall, by being a bigger nerf to the two martial classes more powerful than fighters. You do have a fair number of Archer crossbow fighters, and this does hurt them, but not many fighters take dueling IME.

So this would improve overall balance by moving the average classes (Ranger and Paladin) closer to the fighter (and other non-casters).
 
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Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Superior technique as a style when coupled with martial adept is a quick way to get a fighter dip to have a little battlemaster thrown in. Combined it’s 3 maneuvers and two dice.

I was looking at blade boon warlock with a level in fighter. The fighting style would and feat would allow me to smite with a melee weapon longer than even a weapon with reach would have etc. and causing fear might really change a fight, maybe save the party.

I am not trying to be argumentative but contend some of these have strong situational uses for certain builds (such as blind fighting noted, above).

If we could have 4 “equivalent” styles or 8 that allow you to weird things and may not be worth as much in some cases, I am happy with variety.

One I have not taken not have interest in has been GWM…when I take a two handed weapon and no shield, I gravitate toward defense. Though it’s more just the number rather that flavor or vision.

My brother has saved folks a time or two with protection style. If you take it and shield master you start having a theme. Dueling might be a better choice in that case unless you are making a protector of the front line which is…an option.
 

ECMO3

Hero
there is no logical reason to make all classes as equally powerful and valid choice to each other???

I don't think changes to the fighting styles are going to do that, I think nerfing Archery and Dueling will make fighters (and even more so weaker martials) better balanced and closer to the average D&D classes and thereby improve balance overall. At the end of the day if you are considering level 1-20, fighter is #8 out of 13 classes overall, so it is not like they are at the bottom of the barrel and something that elevates them along with Paladin and Ranger, while leaving those below them behind, does not really improve balance overall, it makes it worse by making the average class even more powerful and further from the bottom.

If we want to balance "all classes" using the current combat mechanics, the only way to do that is give all classes spells.

Weapon combat and spell mechanics are very different in 5E and trying to balance classes that focus on one with classes that focus on the other is like trying to balance apples and automobiles. They aren't the same and there is no common way to measure it. Further there is wide variation based on level that comes into play as well. All the homebrew efforts and suggestions I have seen to achieve balance would either only be viable over a very small level range or only be viable when comparing 2 specific classes and would lead to wider and greater imbalance at another level range or with another class.

If we want to keep class identity where some classes don't have spells, then we would need to change the mechanics to be more like what we had in 4E where weapons and spells have similar mechanics and budgets and could be directly compared with fewer situational factors.

Either of these solutions could achieve very close balance, but I also think either of these solutions would be immersion-breaking and not make for a more fun game.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
The main problem with Fighting Styles is that, outside of Champions, it's a one time choice that you have to make early in our career. So people are not incentivized to take something that only comes up some of the time, even if it's very strong in that circumstance. Each character is best served by a Fighting Style that they will use as often as possible.

If every martial got a few of these, you'd likely see the more niche ones taken. If you were allowed to play for a bit to see what circumstances really come up before selecting one, as opposed to having to guess, you might see the more niche ones taken.

If there was a built-in way to swap out Fighting Styles later on down the road, you could imagine seeing more niche ones tried out and used to see which one was the best fit for your character.

The worst part about Fighting Styles is that many of them require you to give up versatility in exchange for a bonus. If you have Archery Style, you're going to try to use ranged weapons as much as possible. If you have Protection, you'll be glued to a shield, even if there are fights when using a two handed weapon is better.

And imagine being the guy with Duelist Style if the first magic weapon you find is a Greatsword, lol. Now you have a core ability of your class just sitting there, unused.*

*Let's not have this comment spiral into a debate about whether or not a DM should or shouldn't funnel appropriate gear to players- I've seen this occur enough over the years to know that many people have their opinions firmly entrenched and aren't going to change their stances. I ask that we all concede that this is a thing that can happen, and Fighting Styles don't account for it.
 


Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
A fighting style and a feat seems to me like a huge investment to be able to use two maneuvers per short rest.
I think my group gets a good number of them so that may be the difference.

But I would say this is just an addition. If it’s a battlemaster fighter they have a lot of dice and maneuvers.

If not—-and just a dip for say a blade warlock, it adds a lot of interesting moments.

All of that said this was all theory crafting and I did not get to try it out yet…
 

I think my group gets a good number of them so that may be the difference.

But I would say this is just an addition. If it’s a battlemaster fighter they have a lot of dice and maneuvers.

If not—-and just a dip for say a blade warlock, it adds a lot of interesting moments.

All of that said this was all theory crafting and I did not get to try it out yet…
Yeah, I was recently considering something like this for my paladin's 12th level feat. Maybe pick up Riposte or Brace to try to get a bit more damage output, another chance to smite in a round is a pretty big deal. Obviously as a paladin you can only take one of superior technique/martial adept though, because you don't have feats to spare, and it just didn't seem like I'd get value out of it.
 
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Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Yeah, I was recently considering something like this for my paladin's 12th level feat. Maybe pick up Riposte or Brace to try to get a bit more damage output, another chance to smite in a round is a pretty big deal. Obviously as a paladin you can only take one of superior technique/martial adept though, because you don't have feats to spare, and it just didn't seem like I'd get value out of it.
May not. I was really doubling down on a concept. I was going to play a warlock and take koschiechie sp? as a patron.

I wanted to go blade and form a hammer and wanted to be able knock people about. So it sort of fit but I don’t know if it would be frequent enough. Being able to smite with riders was…intriguing.

To the broader point though I do like the options some of the weird styles offer…not enough short rests and I concede serious technique might disappoint..

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I wanted to go blade and form a hammer and wanted to be able knock people about. So it sort of fit but I don’t know if it would be frequent enough. Being able to smite with riders was…intriguing.
The hammer of koscitzche (?) is a cool concept though. If it was me, I'd just ask my DM if I could take a custom variant of Repelling Blast that worked with my pact blade instead of my Eldritch Blast.
 

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