D&D 5E Being strong and skilled is a magic of its own or, how I learned to stop worrying and love anime fightin' magic


Since it's been taking over the 1DD playtest thread, I'm taking the liberty of spinning it off so people have a place to discuss it spearately.

For some reason, there's a very vocal contingent of D&D players who think that martials being able to do anything more impressive than a real-world body builder breaks suspension of disbelief. Given that this is a game of heroic high fantasy, I cannot wrap my head around this POV.

We have wizards who can create pocket dimensions, snuff out life with the snap of a finer, and raise armies of undead minions, but the idea that a fighter can let out an intimidating shout that makes enemies cower in fear without knowing a spell is a bridge too far for some.

D&D is a game that wears its pop cultural influences in its sleeve. The monk is based on 70s kung fu movies; wizards are ripped from Jack Vance's Dying Earth; clerics are Peter Cushing's Professor van Helsing.

Yet there's a curious mismatch in terms of which classes draw on which inspirations. Wizards get to be Circe, yet fighters aren't allowed to be Hercules. Warlocks are are Dr. Strange; rogues don't get to be Nightcrawler.

Maybe it's time the martials draw on the same inspiration as the casters.

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Caster supremacy has been the root of all but 4e. But 5 and 2e did have daft guard so that didn’t go too far. I hope 1d&d will take some ideas from 4e. I know some peeps are pushing multi fighter classes but I don’t care. If I get my war blade or warlord (in a perfect whirls both) I don’t NEED it to be called fighter, but I’m going to do everything in my power to push this to wotc


Lately I've become convinced that the root of the LFQW problem lies with the central mechanic of D&D levels: that a person can become infinitely more powerful just by practicing. This works just fine for casters, since the basic idea is someone who gains immense power through knowledge. A character knowing a thing implies a time when they didn't know it yet, so it's easy to picture a wizard at Level Elminster or whatever and work backwards to imagine his earlier, lower-level days.

Most other powerful fantasy figures don't get their power in the same way. Hercules didn't learn to be the son of Zeus; Nightcrawler didn't learn to be a mutant. Achilles gets dipped in the river Styx and Bruce Banner gets caught in a gamma bomb, but it happens all at once, not over the course of several years and a dozen levels. None of these characters really have a level one incarnation. A suitable martial archetype for dungeons and dragons doesn't just need to be Hercules. It needs to be a nobody who can pick up a sword and become Hercules one day just by working really hard, and that's not something you see in Western fiction very often.

Art Waring

Lately I've become convinced that the root of the LFQW problem lies with the central mechanic of D&D levels: that a person can become infinitely more powerful just by practicing
I would disagree with this, as the power of spells trump class levels.

Fireball is a LV-3 spell, acquired at level 5 for casters, dealing 8d6 damage, with the ability to upcast.

No martial class can deal this much damage that easily at level five by a long shot, and especially not as an area effect, which does not require an attack roll, and still deals half damage to creatures on a save.

Rogues dont get 10d6 sneak attack until they reach level 19. Wizards can deal 10d6 damage at 8th level without making an attack roll and without having to trigger a condition, as sneak attack requires.

Wizards literally just point and click. Martials require a number of conditions to function: They need to close into melee range, putting them toe to toe with monsters. They must make attack rolls to hit. And, often times, they must have a magic weapon or other special equipment just to deal with monsters with resistances to non-magic weapons.

Out of the box, casters get the tools to deal with any potential problems. Casters get every possible avenue to provide solutions, inside and out of combat. Martials like fighters rarely get options to be useful outside of combat as well, further limiting their utility in a game.


Reeks of Jedi
There is still a world of difference between Hercules and Anime Warrior.

One of the problems (IMO) of 5th Ed is too much magic. Every class or race has it in some form.

Which IMO takes away from those classes that are supposed to be the magic uses.

Same issue I had with 4th Ed. Everyone could heal. Every class had one or more attacks that was “Deal X damage to target and heal X damage to yourself.”

As you said though modern pop culture has to bleed in. And them youngsters today love their Dragonballs and Pokemons and One Pieces. 😉. Though I see it more as “Superhero” then “Anime” but that’s just my grumpy old man POV.

So to Be modern and appeal to the new crowd fighters and rogues need to be able to teleport or turn invisible or magically produce weapons or whatever.

Meanwhile I’ll go back to an older ed for a bit until I’ve had enough “normal” then maybe try D&Ds take on the Superhero/Anime Fantasy Genre.


I would disagree with this, as the power of spells trump class levels.
This isn't an accident. Zorro and Robin Hood will never gain the power and breadth of tools of a Doctor Strange by just training and getting more experience, and neither do the classes that look to them for inspiration. Power comparable to high level spells just isn't acquired in the same way by non-magicians in most fiction.

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