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D&D 5E D&D Next Blog - The Fighter

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He was complaining about weapon choice also. But yes, I also vehemently disagree with him if he is indeed criticizing Roles: a Fighter should usually be the one to protect the weaker party members just like he did since OD&D. The Slayer is an interesting off-shoot, but fortunately the Fourth Edition clearly labels him as a striker lest his teammates be disappointed by his lack of mutual defense.

But he's also largely right about weapon choice in 4e, between fighting styles, feats, enhancement bonuses, power riders, and superior weapons you're locked into a particular weapon (or small group of weapons) pretty quickly if you want to keep up.


Community Supporter
What's dangerous about the 3.X fighter is that although it looks like a simple class to play, I am hard-pressed to find another class where:
1 - to effectively do some things (disarm, trip, grapple, etc), you need to take a very precise chain of feats;
2 - There are more feats that look like they would be useful for the class, but are actually traps that are solely there to punish a lack of system mastery.


First Post
I am against 'mark' being added to core... let it be part of the tactical ruleset. I think fighters can greatly benefit from this ability, but replace it in core with something as simple as this in the DMG "Monsters and NPCs are more likely to attack characters in metal armor than those in leather or cloth. Very intelligent NPCs or monsters may do exactly the opposite."


The big stumbling block here is that "Fighter" *is* too broad of a concept. And I think the designers realized it in 4E, which is why they tried to change how we looked at it by getting us to think of class names in a different way.

What most people seem to want to call "fighter"... they called it "Martial class". If you were a Martial Class... you were a warrior. You fought. Your primary focus was weapon combat. You were a MARTIAL character. And within that sphere (or power source if you prefer)... you had all these subclasses. If you were heavily armored, you were a "Fighter". If you were lightly armored and used light, swashbuckling weapons, you were a "Rogue". If you used two weapons or used ranged weapons, you were a "Ranger". If your focus was military tactics or inspiration, you were a "Warlord".

So the whole point of it was to eliminate the idea of class NAME trumping class ABILITY. If you wanted to use the bow and arrow, you chose the Ranger, because it was the ranged component of the Martial source.

However, we've discovered that too many players just weren't willing to make that change. They wanted to play FIGHTERS. They weren't willing to play a "Martial class". Ranger was never going to be equivalent to Ranged Fighter to them, even though that's what the game tried to get them to see.

So where does that leave us? Well, personally... I think this is exactly where the introduction of Themes can come into play... because we can basically RECREATE everything about 4E martial combat, while maintaining the classic NAMES of things that everybody got so hung up on.

So instead of using "Martial power", we can now identify this overriding combat source as "Fighter". And instead of calling the individual facets of the Martial source Fighter, or Rogue, or Ranger, or Warlord, or Berserker, or Tempest, or Pugilist... you now just make THEMES that cover the exact same ground. You're a Fighter with an Archer theme. Or a Fighter with a Swashbuckler theme. Or a Fighter with a Paladin theme. Or a Fighter with a Barbarian theme. Or a Fighter with an Unarmed theme. Or a Fighter with a Warlord theme. You basically have everything 4E did... but just keep the names that everyone seems to want.


I'm all for giving fighters some variety in their role options. Perhaps have them function somewhat like 4E berserkers, but with a "classic" 4E fighter mark, and let people focus on one aspect or the other as it suits them.

I'd like for each weapon type to have something it is best for, and for fighters to be able to bring out the best in weapons. If heavy blades are better for OAs, and spears are better for setting against a charge, a fighter has a reason to have both, even if they focus on one over the other. The main historical flaws of the fighter are that they had to focus on a single weapon, and in doing so were foolish to use any other weapon. Magic items make this even worse, and it's one of the major reasons I despise +X items.

As for ranged fighters... in 4E fighters are terrible with bows and the like, sure, but heavy thrown weapons are fine for them, and while they could use a ranged-friendly marking trick (+Wis damage to next attack against an enemy that violates a mark?), -2 to hit is still -2 to hit. A fighter's mark is never entirely useless except against auto-damage.


First Post
Yeah the Mark mechanic is much better than Aggro, since it allows the DM or player a choice still. You want to avoid mind control with a martial class.
Depends how you flavor it.

"Once per round, you may intercept an attack an enemy has aimed at an ally next to you. The enemy makes the attack against you instead of your ally."

Now its not mind control. Its you shouldering your way in between the monster and your friend. But mechanically its the same thing. The enemy wanted to attack Joe, but instead it attacked Steve.

I'm disappointed - apparently that article was by Robert Schwalb. And I thought he at least knew 4e.

The fact that just about every 4e weapon-using class had to pick a single weapon and stick with it is pretty telling that something was awry with the system. Wizard didn't have to choose between cold and fire spells!

Not my experience. With the exception of Weapon Focus there's no real need to specialise - although there are benefits if you choose to do so and pay the opportunity cost.

To clarify. In one of my current games I have a Bard - a Rohirrim Skald. He variously uses a longsword, javelins from horseback, a shortbow (for the Parthian Shot),a lance from horseback, and sometimes a dagger. Last combat the only one he didn't use was the bow - because it wasn't right for the job. Alongside the bard, the party fighter carries a waraxe, a few throwing axes, and a crossbow. He uses them all depending on the situation. And the warlord in the game I'm running two nights ago changed from bow to javelin as the combat got nearer. He too has Master at Arms. I also play in a Dark Sun game which had an Arena Fighter with a Ki Focus (RIP). Choice of weapons included tables, chairs, a bush ripped from the ground, the severed arm of an enemy, and sometimes (but only sometimes) his sword.

This is entirely supported within the rules. Of course it locks you out of feats like Headsman's Chop.

That said, I rarely see a 4E fighter use a ranged weapon, which kind of makes me sad.

I rarely see them use one because it's better to be up close and personal. But I rarely see them not carry them for when they are the best tool for the job.

Well, in trying to define classes by role, the 4e designers did a lot of "excluding of options" so that your class would always be in its role. Since fighters were supposed to wade into melee and draw attacks to themselves, they simply couldn't be given the option of using bows. It would have violated concept.

Except IME most fighters do carry bows or javelins.

Similarly, the ranger was supposed to be EITHER a two-weapon fighter or an archer. Doing both was just sub-optimal.

Tell it to the throw-and-stab monkeys. Or the hunters with fullblades and executioner's axes.

In other words, 4e's power system pigenholed every character into basically using one weapon for his whole career.

My first ever character was a bard. Trying to juggle wand and longsword - and ending up with a magic shortsword that was intended to go to someone else.

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.

Well built sword and board doesn't do that low damage.

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

Fighters get better opportunity attacks than anyone else. But I think you're looking for the Knight - who uses Battle Guardian as an opportunity not an interrupt.

The big stumbling block here is that "Fighter" *is* too broad of a concept. And I think the designers realized it in 4E, which is why they tried to change how we looked at it by getting us to think of class names in a different way.

Honestly, I think this applies far more to wizard than fighter.

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