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D&D 5E D&D Next Blog - The Fighter


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I kinda want all the options, I suppose.

I want:

1) The Fighter has to be an expert in using weapons. Including his bare hands (and his eblows, knees, feet, head, the latter in more than one sense :p)

2) I want the Fighter to adopt a particular style.

3) I want the choice of weapons to matter.

I think one key thing is that I want the Fighter to remain versatile.

Ideally, there isn't a "sword & board" and "two-handed weapon" and "two-weapon" and "archer" Fighter. There is a Fighter, and you give him a set of weapon and optionally a shield or not, and he adopts a style and uses that weapon to best effect.

In D&D 4 terms, each weapon would have its own set of "powers". And the Fighter is one of the few that can use all of them, while other classes may only be able to use powers of some weapons. It's not about his to-hit bonus and damage rolls, but it is about what he does with these weapons, how he uses them.
In addition, he may also learn additional powers that fit him personally (just like any other class may also have).

Weapon Focus and Specialization could give him additional power options for a particular weapon. But it's still just an option that has the same opportunity cost as any other option and not per se better.
 


Henry

Autoexreginated
I'm all for Fighters being versatile a la 3E again. 4E Essentials' Slayer strikes a pretty good balance of someone who can kick butt with darned near anything they can pick up and use from a crossbow to a greatsword. One facet of 4E that did bug me at launch was a fighter being melee only - a fighter had almost no use for a ranged weapon, because his utility went to "nigh useless" the minute a ranged foe appeared, whereas even the controller-wizards just kept on ticking.
 

Marking is great. Aggro not so much. I hope they don't let peoples' ignorance of the difference influence the design.

Marking is not great. It is a prime example of rules first design. What does a mark mean in the game world? How does my mark "override" the one the Joe just put on the ogre?"

Making rules first then coming up with a floating half baked justification for them is board game design theory. It doesn't work as well for an rpg in which the rules must serve the game.

One lesson the designers really need to learn from 4E is that the rest of the game cannot come a distant second to what happens on the combat grid.
 

Chris_Nightwing

First Post
The only 4th edition game I played through, I was a fighter. It seemed like they had been made pretty awesome (I particularly enjoyed Tide of Iron at 1st level) and would improve upon the just-four-levels-please 3rd edition fighter.

I was wrong, because as many have said, I was forced into a role, and forced into it hard. I wanted a spear to begin with, because spears are cool, but that meant being dextrous and having a lower AC (which later, paradoxically, turns out to be more useful when you are marking). So I went for sword-and-board instead, which meant I was never dealing significant damage. I built myself to be able to mark as many things as possible (one mark protects nobody - in fact, it provokes the DM to attack the otherwise bystanding wizard because HE CAN) - however, this meant lowering my defences to be close to those of the rest of the party or it wasn't worth marking. Only getting one free attack on a marked enemy drove me mad - especially when other interrupts stopped be doing it. So by the time we were heading to paragon, I switched tack and became a hybrid mage - by role was far more controller than defender (also by this point better defenders had been published).

But I like fighters, I want to see them done well. I think that weapons and armour are the staples you have to have. I would like different levels of weapon focus, only the highest of which are available to the fighter. I don't want focus to mean +X, I want styles or abilities unlocked. Swords are for parrying, axes are for serious damage etc. Shields do more than add to AC, armour is something you are comfortable in (I hate that I can apparently carry an ox without penalty, but not a large shield). Fighters should have some mechanism to protect others, yes, if they want it, but it should be interruption rather than penalising (modifiers are always tedious to track).

Following up on another thread - perhaps Fighters are the only ones who should get real opportunity attacks?
 

Hassassin

First Post
1) The Fighter has to be an expert in using weapons. Including his bare hands (and his eblows, knees, feet, head, the latter in more than one sense :p)

2) I want the Fighter to adopt a particular style.

3) I want the choice of weapons to matter.

I think one key thing is that I want the Fighter to remain versatile.

I wish they'll draw inspiration from the 3.5 ranger's favored enemies when they design the fighter class.

Having talent trees / feat chains for the different combat styles would be a good starting point - those could be shared by relevant classes. The fighter would e.g. choose two at first level, and every X levels improve in one *and* pick a new one. He would grow into his generalist role, rather than out of it.
 

talok55

First Post
While it may not be the whole point of the blog, it does present a veritably Straw Man of the 4e fighter.

It points out that the 4e fighter is a defender and (like most defenders) melee-focused. It makes it sound like that's the only thing 4e did with the fighter, force it into a Role (like very other 4e class).

A much more momentous thing happened to the fighter in 4e. It stopped sucking. It became the equal of other classes. It was as good (at least) a defender as the Paladin or Swordmage. It was on the same playing field as casters, able to bring some round-by-round versatility in combat, and some peak-power when really needed. Able to 'nova' in those benighted 5-minute workdays. That balance and near-parity was something the fighter never had before. Never.

And it's not even acknowledged, let alone valued.

I don't think it was so much as making the fighter awesome, though they were good a being a "defender". It was more about making the casters far weaker and less versatile than in previous editions.
 

dkyle

First Post
Marking is not great. It is a prime example of rules first design. What does a mark mean in the game world? How does my mark "override" the one the Joe just put on the ogre?"

Well, I think "rules first" design is great, so...

But as far as in-game representation? It's the fighter getting in the targets' face, keeping their attention, maneuvering them away from his allies (within the area the minis occupy), etc. Marks get overridden because keeping someone's attention and focus is rather exclusive. I guess a more "realistic" rule could be that if the first marker doesn't choose to give up their mark (as a free/no action), then neither mark is effective.

Ultimately, I think marking is no more "rules first" and game-y than HP or AC.

Making rules first then coming up with a floating half baked justification for them is board game design theory. It doesn't work as well for an rpg in which the rules must serve the game.

I disagree that it's "half-baked". I think they did focus on rules first, but made sure it made sense in-world as well. I think the ideal is a feedback loop between rules and in-world representation, where each informs and suggest alterations to the other, until they mesh. I think the most important thing is good rules mechanics. But there are lots of possible good rules mechanics, so an RPG designer should choose ones that make for a sensible story.

I think "rules first" works quite well, in many RPGs. The vast majority of indie RPGs are "rules first", in my experience.
 

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