D&D 5E D&D Next Blog - The Fighter

WizarDru

Adventurer
4e was like a renaisance for the martial source. Where, before, the fighter stood virtualy alone in modeling martial archetypes, it finally had help, and could specialize on it's *ahem* 'core competencies.' Where before casters dominated, martial characters were now broadly competative (though casters still had much greater breadth and variety in their abilities, at least in general power and resources there was finaly a rough parity).

I should hasten to point out that I don't think the 4E fighter isn't a good class...it's not what I or my group envisioned the fighter to be, after four previous editions of the game (including BD&D for us). He's good at what he does, but he couldn't do what he used to...and that happened to be what we wanted him to do.

One of my players found it continually disappointing that the fighter no longer could dish it out, he could only take it. That's not a mechanical problem, its a perception one. A lot of discussion here is focusing on the defensive nature of the fighter, but he is equally iconic at dealing damage...and the 4E fighter lags behind (our at least that's been our perception) in this capacity. His damage capacity becomes much more situational, where the monsters/enemies have to basically give him extra attacks.

When essentials came out, we switched the fighter to a knight...and found it better...but now the player has no dailies, which is unsatisfying in different ways (and again, just as in the discovery of the lack of plate, we sat around the table going "...that can't be right, check the book."

None of which is a problem with the classes, but with out interpretation of them. I want the 5E fighter to be something between the fighters of previous editions: a guy who's focus is mastery of combat and it's forms. I like the sound of themes, because it sounds like it can take the fighter and make him encompass multiple builds/concepts without too much jiggery-pokery.


I realize that in D&D, the fighter has always protected the fragile mage, as needs the necessity of game balance (the powerful ranged wizard was made weak to prevent him from overrunning the game). But when you think of famous warriors, it's fairly rare that you think of them as meatshields. Consider the following: Fafhrd, King Arthur, Perseus, Boromir, Benkei, Achilles. When you think of them, you think of guys who dish it out far more than take it. (Yes, Achilles was invulnerable in later works...but in the Illiad, he is not and gets wounded...but the core of his tale is how he is a death-dealing monstrosity who learns to be more human).

My point being is that being a meatshield is a function of the warrior, not his raison d'etre. He takes the hits because he's tough, not because he's trained his entire life with that in mind. To me, the fighter is a guy who engages in battle, not a guy who gets hit so other people can do the heavy lifting.
 

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One of my players found it continually disappointing that the fighter no longer could dish it out, he could only take it. That's not a mechanical problem, its a perception one. A lot of discussion here is focusing on the defensive nature of the fighter, but he is equally iconic at dealing damage...and the 4E fighter lags behind (our at least that's been our perception) in this capacity. His damage capacity becomes much more situational, where the monsters/enemies have to basically give him extra attacks.

The fighter is generally acknowledged as in DPR terms coming in only just behind the strikers. For a non-striker it's the highest damage class in the game (assuming the leader isn't giving all his attacks to someone like a slayer).
 

I just want them to keep something like the slayer/weaponmaster distinction of late 4e. This also seems to be what they're going to do.

The default fighter's basically the slayer. Every fighter has the same set of abilities, which mainly consist in universal attack and damage bonuses, and is equally good at all weapons. Thus, the default fighter's tactical decisions mainly consist in picking the right weapon for the job. Some encounters might call for a sword and shield; others for a bow; others for a polearm or a pair of battleaxes. The fighter's universalism leaves him free to pick whatever works.

Thus, the default fighter is the most flexible and reliable damage dealer of the two. He probably does the most damage over the course of an encounter. The weaponmaster trades this flexibility for increased tactical options with a single weapon. He probably does less damage over the long run than a default fighter but has better burst damage. True to 4e form, the weaponmaster is likely to have access to special maneuvers that enable him to emulate the 4e fighter's stickiness. The dedicated archer, the swashbuckler, and the spiked-chain expert will all be weaponmasters.

This seems entirely to the good. Both classes sound more fun than fighters of earlier editions.
 

WizarDru

Adventurer
The fighter is generally acknowledged as in DPR terms coming in only just behind the strikers. For a non-striker it's the highest damage class in the game (assuming the leader isn't giving all his attacks to someone like a slayer).

I realize that, I'm saying I didn't like it. I think the concept of roles ossified some of the classes under 4E. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy 4E, but this is one the aspects of it that didn't appeal to me. Telling me the fighter is the one-eyed man among the blind in a kingdom of fully-sighted strikers is kind of a false compliment, to me. :)
 

JohnSnow

Hero
I just want them to keep something like the slayer/weaponmaster distinction of late 4e. This also seems to be what they're going to do.

The default fighter's basically the slayer. Every fighter has the same set of abilities, which mainly consist in universal attack and damage bonuses, and is equally good at all weapons. Thus, the default fighter's tactical decisions mainly consist in picking the right weapon for the job. Some encounters might call for a sword and shield; others for a bow; others for a polearm or a pair of battleaxes. The fighter's universalism leaves him free to pick whatever works.

Thus, the default fighter is the most flexible and reliable damage dealer of the two. He probably does the most damage over the course of an encounter. The weaponmaster trades this flexibility for increased tactical options with a single weapon. He probably does less damage over the long run than a default fighter but has better burst damage. True to 4e form, the weaponmaster is likely to have access to special maneuvers that enable him to emulate the 4e fighter's stickiness. The dedicated archer, the swashbuckler, and the spiked-chain expert will all be weaponmasters.

This seems entirely to the good. Both classes sound more fun than fighters of earlier editions.

I endorse this interpretation of the fighter for combat purposes.

Now, if we can just make sure that the fighter has a decent selection of skills so that they aren't totally useless OUTSIDE of combat.
 

Brom Blackforge

First Post
I know that 4E has its fans, but I am not one of them - particularly when it comes to the fighter.

In previous editions (and I've played 1E, 2E, BECMI, 3.x, and 4E), my favorite class was fighter. That stopped with 4E. The 4E fighter didn't allow me to play the kind of fighter that I like playing. My favorite 4E characters were both rogue/ranger hybrids - they got me closest to being able to replicate what I was able to do with fighters in previous editions.

The 4E fighter class is built on the assumption that the fighter must be a tank. That's wrong. You should be able to specialize in fighting without being a tank.

Maybe that's what I dislike about 4E in general: classes are tied so tightly into their roles that it's hard to play them any other way. The first thing you did in previous editions was choose your class; the first thing you do in 4E is choose your role, and that largely determines your class for you.
 

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