D&D 5E Battlemaster and Superiority Dice are causing martials to suffer.

FallenRX

Adventurer
People usually see battlemaster and its maneuver system as a cure for the issue of the martial caster gap, and i can understand why, martial have a terrible issue of a lack of options, and battlemaster gives resources and options, which make the class feel far more dynamic and interesting.

But here is my issue, one of the reasons why martial are suffering is because

  1. Martials cannot do certain actions because thats what the battlemaster does.
  2. Martials and what they do are tied to resources...for no real reason.
These two ideas i feel limit martials from what i feel they could be, why can martial threaten people into attacking them, why cant they simply disarm and trip people, why can't they rally or parry and such. And why should any of this be on any resource?

Its silly, what resource am i spending to goad someone into an attack or making a distraction? Magic? No, Stamina? How much effort does it take to goad or shout orders? Evasive Footwork, and grappling sure, but basic stuff like that?

The idea martials need resources to do these things is insane, they should just be able to do them, Special Actions, like shove or grapple show a clearer way forward for martials, with actions they can trade out attacks to do to get unique options.

The issue with martials is the fact battlemaster exists so other martials cant get these options, and the fact that they are on an arbitrary resource that represents nothing but trying to imitate 4E's power system, which was just as nonsensical and one of the reasons that game failed.

I feel we can do better than just turning martials into casters with a different resource, Martials defining trait is always being able to act without being tied to resources on what they can do, so i feel we should design them around that.

Martials should be characters of action, who just do, while casters should be powerful but limited by resources, I feel like limiting martials to resources to do technique is absurd, they should always be able to do a lot with a action, even PF2E which a lot of people praised for solving the issue did so in this way.

But thats just my opinion on this, how do you feel?

TLDR; Battlemasters hogging all of the special techniques martials should just be able to do, and the idea that doing these things cost some weird limit hurts the martial experience overall. Martials should just be able to do these things with attacks/actions themselves being the resource, and they should not have weird limitations
 

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MarkB

Legend
It's silly, what resource am i spending to goad someone into an attack or making a distraction? Magic? No, Stamina? How much effort does it take to goad or shout orders? Evasive Footwork, and grappling sure, but basic stuff like that?
For most of that the resource you should be spending is time. Any such actions would require you to stop dedicating yourself solely to attacking as efficiently as possible. The Battlemaster specialises in incorporating such things into their normal attacks.

That said, you should really check out Level Up Advanced 5th Edition, which gives maneuvers to a lot more classes.
 

FallenRX

Adventurer
For most of that the resource you should be spending is time. Any such actions would require you to stop dedicating yourself solely to attacking as efficiently as possible. The Battlemaster specialises in incorporating such things into their normal attacks.

That said, you should really check out Level Up Advanced 5th Edition, which gives maneuvers to a lot more classes.
No Time is spent via actions, what im spending is some weird dice called superiority dice.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
As someone about to wrap up an A5E campaign, maneuvers were what we thought we wanted but weren't actually what we wanted. It's the Battlemaster problem writ large: extra resource to track, specific moves that allow for specific things. And asking someone to not attack so they can disarm or something instead just feels BAD, because it's almost always suboptimal.

What I ended up doing for a player that wanted more flexibility, and will be doing going forward, is using the Proficiency Dice variant in the DMG. If your PD comes up a 4 or higher, you get to add a lil summ summ to your attack: disarm that enemy, knock 'em over. The character using this system has been having a blast throat punching casters to silence them for a round and throwing weapons at eyes to blind. Typically these effects are all short-term, but it gives the player the juice to do something more fun and still be effective.

Took inspiration from people gushing about Dungeon Crawl Classic's Warrior, found a way to make it work, and it's been great.
 

No Time is spent via actions, what im spending is some weird dice called superiority dice.
The point was everyone is spending time. The BM is only spending dice. They are the exception. Everyone else can do maneuvers, but they need to spend an action and probably succeed on a check (possibly opposed).

Now the play test did have maneuvers for all martials (and dice), but it didn’t poll well so they reduced it to just a fighter subclass. So blame the fans!

Personally I liked it. However, as someone else pointed out, LevelUp has you covered. So does Tasha’s to an extent.
 

As someone about to wrap up an A5E campaign, maneuvers were what we thought we wanted but weren't actually what we wanted. It's the Battlemaster problem writ large: extra resource to track, specific moves that allow for specific things. And asking someone to not attack so they can disarm or something instead just feels BAD, because it's almost always suboptimal.

What I ended up doing for a player that wanted more flexibility, and will be doing going forward, is using the Proficiency Dice variant in the DMG. If your PD comes up a 4 or higher, you get to add a lil summ summ to your attack: disarm that enemy, knock 'em over. The character using this system has been having a blast throat punching casters to silence them for a round and throwing weapons at eyes to blind. Typically these effects are all short-term, but it gives the player the juice to do something more fun and still be effective.

Took inspiration from people gushing about Dungeon Crawl Classic's Warrior, found a way to make it work, and it's been great.
I like that idea. I could see it tied to you to hot roll too. So 5 over the hot number allows you to add a maneuver of sorts
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
I like that idea. I could see it tied to you to hot roll too. So 5 over the hot number allows you to add a maneuver of sorts
I've never heard of a hot number, but if it's just the DC (or AC of an attack target), then yeah, that was something I had considered. I think it would be a lower chance than 4 or higher on the PD, especially as it increases in size, but if giving the martial a 25% chance to do cool stuff like the wizard can at will (I'm very biased here, excuse the snark please) seems to high, 5 over AC is a way to mitigate it a bit.
 

cbwjm

Legend
The point was everyone is spending time. The BM is only spending dice. They are the exception. Everyone else can do maneuvers, but they need to spend an action and probably succeed on a check (possibly opposed).

Now the play test did have maneuvers for all martials (and dice), but it didn’t poll well so they reduced it to just a fighter subclass. So blame the fans!

Personally I liked it. However, as someone else pointed out, LevelUp has you covered. So does Tasha’s to an extent.
This is exactly how I see it, a champion could spend their Action to attempt to goad someone into focusing on them, the battlemaster does it with a single enhanced attack.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
This is exactly how I see it, a champion could spend their Action to attempt to goad someone into focusing on them, the battlemaster does it with a single enhanced attack.
I'm not sure I'd ever have a player look at the options 1) Attack, multiple times for most of the campaign and 2) try to goad the opponent into hitting you instead of your friends and do nothing else, and then choose number 2 on purpose except in some weird edge case.

Wrapping extra effects into the things the martials already want to do because they're mechanically incentivized to do so (mostly taking the Attack action) means that you actually see these narrative adjusting actions in play instead of them being some theoretical "well, you COULD use your action to..."

Which is to say that I agree with the thread's premise: the existence of the Battlemaster drags other martials down. All martials should be able to goad, trip, disarm, and it shouldn't cost some specialized resource to do it, and it shouldn't feel like you're handicapping yourself to do something other than "I walk forward and swing twice."
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I'd take inspiration from some old UA feats that allowed special weapon tricks when you had Advantage and you gave up on the 2nd d20 to add an effect. Similar to the Samurai's Rapid Strike.

or (from the same UA, IIRC)

When you roll with Advantage and both die would hit the target's AC, you can do a cool trick.
 


SakanaSensei

Adventurer
The Champion exists for those who want to play a plate-mail clad orc slayer, and is there just to kick some butt.

The Battlemaster is there for everyone else who wants some kind of nuanced fighter.
I just wish that all nuanced fighter ideas weren't locked behind one of several subclasses.

Like, for me personally, homebrew and 3PP do wonders to make things better, so no real skin off my back. But for those who play with strangers or people who want to do things entirely by the book, it's a little unfortunate that this is how things shook out.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
3e and Pathfinder have a ton of special actions all warriors can take. Disarm, Sunder, Trip, and (in PF1), things like push, drag, steal and Dirty Trick. Most of the time, players don't take those actions.

Part of this is yes, those editions made these maneuvers difficult without specialization. But the other part is, you give up an attack (or sometimes all attacks) to impose a status ailment on the target. Sometimes, like Disarm or Sunder, this can be a very good status ailment, but many times, it's not.

And giving up damage when, as many people say "the best status effect is Dead", is problematic. That's why Battlemasters spend a resource to do their thing, and still be able to deal their damage. If everyone could do this without spending a resource, and just spam "frightening strikes", that is exactly what they would do, and 5e isn't built to let non spellcasters have at-will damaging debuffs; indeed, a vocal group during the playtest specifically did not want this, instead wanting the Fighter of old, the heavy armored, tough, weapon damage dealer with no fancy moves or "magical" abilities (however you define such).

And note even cantrips have very limited debuffs they can employ. You're not knocking people prone or frightening people with cantrips. You're removing reactions or nerfing heals.

Could 5e have more maneuvers? Absolutely. But WotC thinks the majority of the player base doesn't want more complexity, so they're not likely to add such to the game (though anything can happen!).

So it's up to you or 3rd party developers to address this. Some will like the idea, others will reject it.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I'm not sure I'd ever have a player look at the options 1) Attack, multiple times for most of the campaign and 2) try to goad the opponent into hitting you instead of your friends and do nothing else, and then choose number 2 on purpose except in some weird edge case.

Wrapping extra effects into the things the martials already want to do because they're mechanically incentivized to do so (mostly taking the Attack action) means that you actually see these narrative adjusting actions in play instead of them being some theoretical "well, you COULD use your action to..."

Which is to say that I agree with the thread's premise: the existence of the Battlemaster drags other martials down. All martials should be able to goad, trip, disarm, and it shouldn't cost some specialized resource to do it, and it shouldn't feel like you're handicapping yourself to do something other than "I walk forward and swing twice."
Then make it use an attack instead of an action. I still don't think the battle master is taking these things away from fighters or any other class, rather I feel people look at the battle master moves and get hung up on the idea that this is the only subclass that can do these things when it's not true, the main difference is that the battle master is better, he gets to make an attack with an addition rider, others have to give up something.
 

Stormonu

Legend
This was something that I put together to "expand" in-combat actions. Basically, burn a bonus action for a bit of flair. Haven't had a chance yet to try it in a real game to see how it changes combat dynamics.

# Combat

## Combat Options
During their turn, any character, with the DM's approval, can attempt any one of the following stunts as a bonus action or reaction, as indicated by the ability. To qualify for an action that activates on an attack, you must have made a melee weapon, melee spell, ranged weapon or ranged spell attack. Spells that have an effect on a failed save cannot be used with combat options that require an attack to be used. At the DM's option, a character may expend a point of inspiration to perform one of the listed actions below without it taking up a bonus action or reaction. In any case, no more than one combat option listed below can be used by a single character per round.

These combat options are not suggested for use by creatures run by the DM, unless it is an extraordinary example of its kind (in general, a "named" NPC or otherwise unique NPC).

DMs and players are encouraged to create their own additional combat options to further spice up combats and cover unusual or one-shot actions that might occur in the combat - such as interacting with furniture or obstacles, targeting specific opponents or performing unusual tactics.

### Avenge
You swear to wreck vengenance on an opponent who felled an ally.

As a reaction when an opponent drops an ally to 0 hit points, you can move half your speed and make a single weapon attack or a single cantrip attack.

### Avoid
You give ground to avoid an opponent's attack.

As a reaction when an opponent misses you with an attack, you can disengage up to half your speed away.

### Blind
You take a moment to render your opponent unable to see.

As a bonus action against an opponent you just hit, you can force them to make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8 + your attack bonus. On a failure, the target is blinded until the end of its next turn.

### Brace
You prepare for an opponent's approach.

You convert your bonus action into an extra reaction that triggers the original bonus action when an opponent moves into your reach.

### Cleave
Your attack continues through a fallen enemy.

When you reduce a foe to 0 hit points with a melee or ranged weapon attack, as a bonus action you can choose an adjacent opponent with the same or worse AC. Any damage you did in excess to the original target hit points is applied to the secondary target.

### Cower
You make yourself look unworthy of being harmed.

As a reaction, if you have not attacked an opponent who is about to attack you, you can force the opponent to make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Persuasion (Cha) skill. On a failure, the opponent chooses another target in range to attack, if able.

### Deafen
You deliver a blow that leaves the enemy's ears ringing.

As a bonus action against an opponent you just hit, you can force them to make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8 + your attack bonus. On a failure, the target is deafened until the end of its next turn.

### Fluster
You make a snide remark designed to unbalance your opponent.

As a reaction you choose an opponent that can hear you within 30 feet. The opponent must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Intimidate (Cha) skill. On a failure, the target's next attack has disadvantage.

### Focus
You steady your resolve.

As a bonus action, you ready yourself for action. Until your next action, when you are required to make a saving throw or concentration check, as a reaction you can gain advantage on the roll.

### Frighten
You strike fear into your foe, diminishing their resolve.

As a reaction when you have more than half your hit points and an opponent targeting you has less than half their hit point total, you can force them to make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC of 8 + your Intimidate (Cha) skill. On a failure, the target is frightened of you until the end of its next turn.

### Guard
You protect an ally from harm.

When an opponent attacks an ally within 5 feet of you, as a reaction you can force the opponent to make their next attack with disadvantage.
\page
### Hound
You prevent an enemy from easily escaping.

As a bonus action, you can select an enemy within melee range of you. If the selected opponent attempts to move away, even by means of disengaging, as a reaction you can make an attack of opportunity against them or move half your movement rate to follow them.

### Interact
You use a piece of furniture or other item to your advantage.
You gain one of the following, but you cannot use both in the same turn. After interacting with an item, the DM should adjucate if it can be used again or is destroyed or expended by the interaction.

  • As a bonus action you gain advantage on your next attack.
  • As a reaction, you inflict disadvantage on your opponent's next attack.

### Limber
You prepare yourself for physical activity.

As a bonus action, you give yourself advantage on the next Athletics (Str) or Acrobatics (Dex) skill check you make during your turn. If you climb or jump, you increase the distance you cover by 50%.

### Goad
You bully your opponent into attacking you.

As a reaction you choose an opponent that can hear you within 30 feet. The opponent must make a Wisdom saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Intimidate (Cha) skill. On a failure, the target must target you for its next attack.

### Grapple
You grab your opponent.

As a bonus action against an opponent no more than one size category larger than you that you hit with a melee weapon or unarmed attack, you can force the target to make a Strength saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Athletics (Str) skill. On a failure, the target is grappled.

### Pin
You nail your opponent in place, preventing them from moving.

As a bonus action against an opponent you just hit, you can force the target to make a Strength saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Athletics (Str) skill. On a failure, the target is restrained until the end of its next turn.

### Push
You shove an opponent.

As a bonus action against an opponent you just hit, you can force the target to make a Strength saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Athletics (Str) skill. On a failure, you can move the target up to 5 feet x your Strength modifier.
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### Stun
You knock your opponent senseless.

As a bonus action against an opponent that you score a critical hit against, you can force the target to make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 8 + your attack bonus. On a failure, the target is incapacitated until the end of its next turn.

### Target
You set your sights on a single opponent.

As a bonus action, you can choose an opponent that you can see. When you make your first attack roll against the target in the same turn, you gain advantage on the attack roll.

### Trip
You knock your opponent to the ground.

As a bonus action against an opponent no more than one size category larger than you that you hit, you can force the target to make a Dexterity saving throw against a DC of 8 + your Athletics (Str) skill. On a failure, the target is knocked prone.


### Tumble
As a bonus action, if you are in light armor or no armor, your have an AC of 10 + your Acrobatics (Dex) skill when opponents make an opportunity attack when you attempt to move out of their reach.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Then make it use an attack instead of an action. I still don't think the battle master is taking these things away from fighters or any other class, rather I feel people look at the battle master moves and get hung up on the idea that this is the only subclass that can do these things when it's not true, the main difference is that the battle master is better, he gets to make an attack with an addition rider, others have to give up something.
In my case it’s not that I think “no one else can do this because Battlemaster can!” Please don’t mistake my position. What I’m saying is that for any other martial, doing so is 9/10 times so woefully inefficient that they shouldn’t even bother.
 

Then make it use an attack instead of an action. I still don't think the battle master is taking these things away from fighters or any other class, rather I feel people look at the battle master moves and get hung up on the idea that this is the only subclass that can do these things when it's not true, the main difference is that the battle master is better, he gets to make an attack with an addition rider, others have to give up something.
"But it's called a Defender. That means it isn't allowed to do anything but Defend."

You're fighting a losing battle, my friend. If this logic worked, 5e would be a very different game.
 


SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Blame the playtests. They were originally for everyone, but got shoved into just Battlemaster
I’d rather look for solutions than where to place blame, which is why I came up with the proficiency die hack above. I’ve come a long way over the course of 5E from “it’s in the book or not at my table” to “WotC is no different than a 3rd party publisher when it comes to my table, and my homebrew wins because it can be tailored to exactly what my players and I want.”

There are enough conversations that pop up here that show me that a good number of people seem to actively dislike any notion of martials being allowed to do more cool stuff or being given more options. “It’s fine for me!” They’ll say, 30 times in every thread that brings up the topic.

Is it inconvenient that I’ve gotta either hunt down a 3PP solution or make one myself? Yeah sure, but it’s also fun, so eh, it’s a wash.
 

Horwath

Hero
I just wish that all nuanced fighter ideas weren't locked behind one of several subclasses.

Like, for me personally, homebrew and 3PP do wonders to make things better, so no real skin off my back. But for those who play with strangers or people who want to do things entirely by the book, it's a little unfortunate that this is how things shook out.
Buff up martial adept feat so it can be considered to be taken;

Learn 2 maneuvers,
Gain 2 superiority dice(d8).

this feat can be taken 3 times.
 

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