D&D's Missing Archetypes

Dungeons & Dragons' classes have expanded to include popular tropes from fantasy fiction. Now D&D itself is influencing what archetypes appear in fiction. There's still a few missing.

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Picture courtesy of Pixabay

This thought experiment is rooted in the idea that classes need to be in the Players Handbook to be deemed official. This article specifically addresses popular fantasy characters that don't seem to easily fit into one of the existing classes.

Of the original classes, the fighter and wizard find their inspiration in literature and history. Of those with historical roots, bards and druids were inspired by Celtic history (the bard was originally much less a musician and much more a multi-class fighter/thief/druid) and paladins from chansons de geste (and specifically the fantasy fiction, Three Hearts and Three Lions). Speaking of fiction, many of the classes were inspired by the popular fiction at the time: the wizard and rogue were patterned after Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, clerics were inspired by Dracula's vampire-hunting Van Helsing (more likely the Hammer films than the original novel), rangers after Aragorn from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, barbarians after R.E. Howard's Conan series, and monks from the Destroyer series featuring Remo Williams.

After their debut, many classes were largely refined. Bards became a full class, clerics became more religious, and monks diversified to represent more martial arts. But the sorcerer and warlock are more recent, filling niches that better represented other spellcasting sources. Wizards were very much a Vancian-inspiration, so sorcerers filled the many other spellcasting archetypes in literature in video games. Warlocks were the second antihero after rogues with some dubious magical origins that made them different from sorcerers and wizards, a caster more inspired by cultists and witches than magical formulae and raw willpower.

The archetypes below are the next evolution of these ideas, inspired by new media that has debuted since and roles that aren't quite being filled by existing classes. That said, variants of all these exist in some form, but not as a core class. Almost every character archetype can be recreated by tinkering with the rules, be it via third party supplements or homebrew. But at some point an invisible line is crossed where players expect to be able to play the character they see in other media. If fantasy games, movies, and books are any indication, here's three archetypes that might be on the path to becoming core classes in D&D's future.

Artificer​

The rise of steampunk-style characters has been propagated by video games that regularly included magical tech in their settings. That in turn has created its own media offshoots, like Wakfu (based on the titular Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and Arcane (based on the online battle arena game League of Legends). And of course, anime is a major influence, which was regularly mixing fantasy and technology going as far back as the works of Studio Ghibli with Castle in the Sky.

The artificer originally appeared as a specialist wizard in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Option: Spells & Magic, only to reach prominence in Third Edition with the Eberron Campaign Setting. It was an official base class in Fourth Edition's Eberron's Player's Guide. The artificer has since shown up Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, but it's not part of the core classes in the Player's Handbook.

The reason for that may be that artificers have built-in assumptions about the campaign universe that requires some "magitech" inclusion by the dungeon master, and not everyone may be comfortable with that default assumption. That said, clerics assume a divine connection to deities, barbarians assume a culture of raging primal warriors, and warlocks assume a (somewhat sinister) connection to other beings willing to exchange magic for power. It's not that big of a stretch to include artificer in the core rules and it may well be included in future editions.

Witcher​

The Witcher was originally a book series, which in turn inspired a video game franchise, which in turn created a Netflix series. Watching The Witcher series feels a lot like watching someone's Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and that's no accident. Witchers have a lot in common with rangers and in the original setting where they originated, may well have been inspired by them. But origins aside, the ranger has always been something of an uneasy fit for a witcher.

That's at least due in part to the revisions to the core ranger class itself. Xanathar's Guide introduced a proper monster slayer archetype that fits the witcher mold. And of course there's the Bloodhunter class created by Critical Role's Matt Mercer in The Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.

Gunslinger​

Critical Role is so popular that it's begun to influence the game that inspired it, so it's perhaps not a surprise that another of Mercer's creations, the gunslinger, fills a missing archetype. Like the artificer, the gunslinger presupposes a level of technology that is not currently the default in D&D. But also like artificers, gunslingers are everywhere, including in Vox Machina.

In the cartoon, Percival de Rolo is infernally-inspired by the demon Orthax to create firearms, justifying their inclusion in a fantasy setting that didn't initially have firearms at all. Since his debut, Percival is now considered the inventor of these kinds of weapons, which just goes to show how a determined DM can make the archetype's inclusion work in their campaign.

Will They Ever Become Official?​

Pathfinder, with its massive array of character options, is a good guidepost for the future of D&D. All of the above archetypes are covered as base classes, although they're not (currently) part of Pathfinder's core rules either.

Of the three classes, the artificer has steadfastly appeared in each edition, and with each debut a little less attached to the campaign roots of Eberron. Its inclusion in Tasha's completed that journey, so it seems likely that the next logical step is to include artificers in the core rules. If that happens, it's not hard to see a gunslinger being an option, either as a fighter or ranger archetype. And the Witcher-inspired class is likely not far behind, benefiting from a subclass in Xanathar's Guide (the Monster Slayer) and Mercer's own Bloodhunter class.

Your Turn: There are surely archetypes that are popular in fantasy-related media that don't fit any of the current classes. What did I miss?
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I guess the question is, what would the Scholar do? I mean, ok, he'd be good at skill checks, but we have classes that do that. What makes him unique? I suppose he could have an ability like the Battlemaster's to size up foes; as 5e doesn't have dedicated monster knowledge rules that could be handy, but then I think you'd find most DM's would assume that only Scholars can do this (making for an OD&D Thief situation).

But even then...I can't imagine an academic is a great fighter. Unless it's a caster subclass, like the Cloistered Cleric, they'd maybe have some sort of tactical benefit, due to advice they can give?

So kind of like the Bard and the "Warlord"?
Well the Bard really is where a Scholar is the easiest fit.

In my game Quest For Chevar, it's much easier to make a Scholarly character that is both useful and feels like a scholar, because preparation is a huge part of surviving and succeeding at the job, but even it needs to either be able to shoot a gun or something, or be capable of some binding magic, or somesuch.

I think that the prep stuff is harder to put into dnd, because it just isn't normal to have an investigation into the BBEG before going totake them down in DnD. But a combination of monster knowledge*, binding magic, and some sort of "give advice that makes the enemy more vulnerable to your allies" ability, could make a strong, if odd, dnd class.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Well it used to be a part of D&D. Seek out Bards and Sages to uncover legends and lore, gather consumables and the like- fighting a monster like a dragon was an undertaking. You needed to find out about it's lair, when it goes hunting, what it's breath weapon and resistances were, what spells it could use...then you could make the attempt.

Then somewhere along the line, a party could just blunder into a dragon and win despite a lack of preparation. Or nobody wanted to use potions because it's a drain on action economy, or DM's didn't want to let players prep because it made things "too easy". I suggest doing things the old fashioned way these days and people give me funny looks.
 

Well it used to be a part of D&D. Seek out Bards and Sages to uncover legends and lore, gather consumables and the like- fighting a monster like a dragon was an undertaking. You needed to find out about it's lair, when it goes hunting, what it's breath weapon and resistances were, what spells it could use...then you could make the attempt.

Then somewhere along the line, a party could just blunder into a dragon and win despite a lack of preparation. Or nobody wanted to use potions because it's a drain on action economy, or DM's didn't want to let players prep because it made things "too easy". I suggest doing things the old fashioned way these days and people give me funny looks.

But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
They just didn't live through that era of gaming, and now you can take a background and be a Sage...and the DM might not tell you anything (one thing I agree with Crawford about- background features need more teeth, they tend to get ignored or downplayed a lot)!
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
While I imagine this was made in a tongue-in-cheek snarky way;
That is how its expressed but it doesn't change meaning
  1. most stories regardless of medium involve characters who remain within the same scope of story through out. (tier)
  2. most campaigns have a limited number of levels any way. (staying in that tier is almost always going to be fine or happen whether you want it all)
  3. the mundane joe from gym who cannot jump more than 10 feet in a standing jump quits making sense in the story at high levels and his flexibility particularly outside of pure combat is basically trash.
  4. Most caster classes automatically adjust becoming more versatile and awesome to match advancing tiers with well defined abilities for doing so ... but this fighter is pulling the same moves he did at level 3 and barely is any more skilled outside of combat than he was at low level. In pure story terms that just sucks ignoring the game details.
To me the answer is one of 2 things let your im just a regular dude hang out at low tiers OR let mundane dude reliably evolve.
, spellcasters should be able to break laws of nature because that's what magic does by its very own definition.
If you can lift a book from 30 feet away you broke a law of nature.... that simply isnt the issue.

Has magic become so mundane that it must necessarily permeates everything and everyone?
yes this is D&D and magic is not made to feel dangerous or erratic or mysterious... D&D makes magic very very not "magical" in a story sense
and having it permeate everything is a very good description of the way legends and myths worked in the real world the strong distinguishing between magic and the everyday is a modern invention the demigod stories were often characters considered demigods or the descendants of dragons or daemons or fae in an after the fact fashion. Very like levelling up and discovering it.
Maybe it has and I hang on to the "mundane" of D&D because I would find it too sad otherwise...
Again the everyman with a bit of luck doesnt go away it just stays in its own tier instead of being an embarrassment.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
They just didn't live through that era of gaming, and now you can take a background and be a Sage...and the DM might not tell you anything (one thing I agree with Crawford about- background features need more teeth, they tend to get ignored or downplayed a lot)!
It's more tha tthe rise of videogaming has made the Scholar be both an important knowledge quest NPC or a gadgeteer/alchemist based PC class.

So the younger gnerations are not strangers to playing Scholars but they have been trained to get knowledge from NPCs.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
the mundane joe from gym who cannot jump more than 10 feet in a standing jump quits making sense in the story at high levels and his flexibility particularly outside of pure combat is basically trash.
Part of the issue is that the Mundane Joe that was a Knight or high class Mercenary in Real Life or Fantasy books were very versatile murder-beasts.

It's like when my cousin started watching Game of Thrones and asked me "Is every lord a badass?". My answer was "50& of the male nobility in Westeros in their prime was a highly educated monster who would absolutely wreck 99% of both continent's population. And only 50% because some of the knights are so strong and don't need their brains."
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Though, to be fair, the value of one such man on a battlefield shrinks significantly, and is pretty much worthless against dragons, which is why the Valryians made all the Lords of Westeros bend the knee.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Speaking of ASOIAF, I see the Maesters and Alchemists as the low magic and low fantasy versions of the Scholar class.

Powered up to D&D's base magic and fantasy level,a maester would masters of potions, grenades, surgery, clockworks, steamworks, falconry,dog training, along with base knowledges like finances, history, religion, and language and obscure magics like binding and true names.

Their players would just be rolling to know anything.

"It is said Chromatic dragons each have a weakness in their standing position due to their placement of their breath sacs. For greens,it is the armpits. I'll do a minor binding to increase its' gravity to force it to land and crouch. What is gravity? Grug, I've explained this already six errr five plus one times."
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
the Archer aren’t well done in 5e’s core, really requiring a multiclass of Battlemaster Fighter and Hunter Ranger to really hit all the right notes, which means at least level 8 before both subclasses are online and you have extra attack. Ouch.

Fighter/Rogue can also get most of the way there, but still not early on.

I would say in fact that there is no way to play a Legolas inspired character before level 5.
i think enabling the battlemaster to be better at barrage style effects could get you pretty damn close (which if I recall was the elements of the hunter i thought would be stealable). Multi-classing nerfing extra attack seems the main issue for a lot of things. Multi-classing to another caster class does not nerf spell slots much at all (in comparison)
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think that the prep stuff is harder to put into dnd, because it just isn't normal to have an investigation into the BBEG before going totake them down in DnD.
Before the Warlord coordinating everyones attacks and creating off turn opportunities for allies en mass never happened either...
But a combination of monster knowledge*, binding magic, and some sort of "give advice that makes the enemy more vulnerable to your allies" ability, could make a strong, if odd, dnd class.
5e lets warlordish speech telling make a sustained defense buff... a feat that allowed similar with a more offensive vibe seems of the same order no?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Or how Bards used to work, inspiring their party in combat. And let's not forget 3.5 abilities being able to inspire people to the point their weapons light on fire.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
i think enabling the battlemaster to be better at barrage style effects could get you pretty damn close (
Yeah, tbh letting multiple characters move and get a bonus to damage until the start of your next turn, as an action, seems like a perfectly good warlord maneuver.
which if I recall was the elements of the hunter i thought would be stealable). Multi-classing nerfing extra attack seems the main issue for a lot of things. Multi-classing to another caster class does not nerf spell slots much at all (in comparison)

Before the Warlord coordinating everyones attacks and creating off turn opportunities for allies en mass never happened either...

5e lets warlordish speech telling make a sustained defense buff... a feat that allowed similar with a more offensive vibe seems of the same order no?
Absolutely! Some “take X minutes to go over strategy, which can be done as part of a short rest” stuff would work a treat.
 

A martial subclass based on grappling as a primary loop. Grabs, throws, submission holds. Less raw damage for more status effects. Fighter, Barbarian, and Monk could all work potentially. Or each class could get a version of it, barbarians are all power bombs and pile drivers, monks are sweeps and submissions, fighters are headlocks and dirty tricks.

A trapper subclass. All these crazy traps exist in dungeons, but somehow no one makes them. Could be something either the artificer or ranger does.

Any of a number of classes/subclasses that could actually derive explicit combat use out of their skills outside of stealth, athletics and acrobatics.

A combat liar, who functions using feints and misdirection. A combat intimidator, who's foes fear to touch them. Hell, a combat diplomat who can turn enemies into friends on the battlefield.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
The main problem is they already tried that, and it wasn't good.

Like, that's literally what the Battle Master is supposed to be. And what the Banneret is supposed to be. They're both supposed to be "the Fighter killed the Warlord and took its stuff" options. It didn't work. People who disliked Warlords are at best iffy on the Warlord-like elements of these subclasses, and people who liked the Warlord rightly point out how small and weak these options are. The Banneret in particular went over like a lead balloon with Warlord fans.

Of course, some of this has to do with the fact that 5e took two and a half of its three years of public playtesting just to figure out the basic Fighter kit, and as a result, did not have enough time to pivot to some new Warlord-type options in the final stretch after the utter failure of the "Specialties" mechanic.

For those who missed or forgot the D&D Next playtest: originally the designers claimed they were going to support Warlord-type options for Fighters, explicitly including martial healing. Notably, this did not appear in the final product, and the team got real, real quiet about all this stuff in the last 6 months or so before publication. That's because they had decided to shift the Warlord-type Fighter to focusing on "Specialties," which were pre-made bundles of feats that you would choose early on in a character's journey, and gain slowly over time. You could invent your own specialty if you wanted, but the pre-made bundles were intended to be more digestible/accessible. Problem was, Specialties were...just not very good. And they didn't have the time to playtest them until they were good--they had only a few months left at most, because the D&D Next playtest moved at glacially slow speeds. So, almost inevitably, they simply dropped Specialties entirely, since nothing depended on them...except the Warlord Fighter. As a result, the Warlord Fighter was basically completely dropped from 5e, despite the designers openly saying they intended to include it.

Soooooo...yeah. You may think this is an effective strategy, but we've been here before and it didn't work. In fact, I'm almost certain you were present for the "Warlord Quarantine" that ENWorld went through after 5e launched and failed to live up to expectations on that front.

My fighter players would like a bit more oomph. I've been toying with:

1. Give them an at-will Battlemaster Manoeuvre at Level 5 (off a limited list, downgraded to be a bonus action, no superiority die roll so no extra damage, based off a similar formula to the Shield Master attack)
2. Let them roll 1 extra weapon die when they score a crit (gives champion an extra damage boost too) to compete a bit more with paladins' damage spike (I'd be fine if Rangers got this too).
3. Take the Battlemaster fighter builds in Tasha's, require Battlemasters to pick one of the packages and then any manoeuvres on that list can be also be used at will (downgraded to be a bonus action, no superiority die roll). They can still choose other favourite manoeuvres as normal for use with superiority dice.
4. Instead of giving Bannerets proficiency in persuasion, give them 1d6 superiority dice and access to either commanding presence or tactical assessment and another manoeuvre off the warlord style list.
5. Superior Technique and Martial Adept grant access to at will versions of the manoeuvres
 

My fighter players would like a bit more oomph. I've been toying with:

1. Give them an at-will Battlemaster Manoeuvre at Level 5 (off a limited list, downgraded to be a bonus action, no superiority die roll so no extra damage, based off a similar formula to the Shield Master attack)
2. Let them roll 1 extra weapon die when they score a crit (gives champion an extra damage boost too) to compete a bit more with paladins' damage spike (I'd be fine if Rangers got this too).
3. Take the Battlemaster fighter builds in Tasha's, require Battlemasters to pick one of the packages and then any manoeuvres on that list can be also be used at will (downgraded to be a bonus action, no superiority die roll). They can still choose other favourite manoeuvres as normal for use with superiority dice.
4. Instead of giving Bannerets proficiency in persuasion, give them 1d6 superiority dice and access to either commanding presence or tactical assessment and another manoeuvre off the warlord style list.
5. Superior Technique and Martial Adept grant access to at will versions of the manoeuvres
I mean, it certainly couldn't hurt. Fighters (especially Champs) need some boosts to keep up. I fully expect the Champion to get some changes in "5.5e" because the bonus crit damage only barely keeps up with Paladins as-is IF the group runs many combats every day.

But the issue, for me at least, remains that the Fighter, whether you give it toned down AW maneuvers or revamp its subclass features or tweak its baseline class features...it's too built up for personally dealing damage (even if it does fall behind other classes mathematically unless you get enough short rests in its current form) and personally shrugging off problems (Indomitable, Second Wind) to really have room for any tactics-focused features.

I don't mean this as a criticism of your proposals, which are creative and should be quite good for anyone who felt things were close as they were but just slightly too far off the mark. Instead, my issue is that exactly what people complained about with the 4e Fighter has actually happened, but without the ability to build around it. In 4e, you could totally build a viciously effective Fighter who could dish out tons of damage—to the point that some advice actually recommended not going so hard for extra damage and instead bulking up your defenses, because you might make your damage so high that your DM will decide it's never worthwhile to risk disobeying your mark, which makes all that damage investment wasted.*

By forcing the Warlord to only be expressed through the Fighter in 5e, we are left with a chassis that cannot accommodate the desired features. Since 5e has eschewed both the Warlord class and sufficient resources to build toward an alternate role, the painfully limited customization options leave little room to change the Fighter's implicit role, and the Fighter has arguably the strongest implicit role in the game (deriving almost all of its power from its class features, with subclass being almost an afterthought.) It would be sort of like if someone said that making a sports car model is unnecessary because any type of car can go at sports car speeds and be fancy and sporty, so we're just gonna discontinue all sports cars and people can just take the sporty subtype of the new, customizable sedan model coming out: it has sporty features, but a sports car it ain't.

Perhaps a more pertinent criticism: while this makes for some good baseline level improvements, it does nothing for the two long-standing criticisms about Battle Master maneuvers. First, they suffer from extremely minimal scaling, going from 1d8 to 1d12, meaning an average gain of only 2 points across a character's maximum level range. Second, all maneuvers belonging to the same "tier," so getting your 6th and 7th maneuvers is...not very interesting, you likely already have all the maneuvers you want with just the first five (or six, if you take Superior Technique). IOW, if you want to fix some of the problems for both Fighters generally and Warlord style Fighters more specifically, consider developing Advanced Maneuvers that require training in "basic" maneuvers and which give better benefits, but which can't be used willy-nilly. There is of course the X-per-encounter option, but it might be better to instead do maneuver-specific triggers that are unlikely to be spammable or which become tougher after the first use. For example, the first time you use some particular one you must just be adjacent to an enemy who is also adjacent to one of your allies, but the second time you must have (and choose to forego) Advantage on the attack roll in order to use it (symbolizing that you have set up beneficial circumstances that let you do it again), and further attempts might require that and let an enemy make an opportunity attack because they're catching on to your tactics.

Overall though...I just don't think most Warlord fans are ever going to be satisfied with tweaks and filigree added to the Fighter, because the 5e Fighter was built to be a "tanky bruiser," to appropriate the MOBA term: high defense and high offense, mediocre mobility, low utility and support. Making a subclass able to deliver the high levels of support desired by Warlord fans would almost surely make that subclass ridiculously overpowered. But offering a subclass with the minimal support and utility features required to not be OP is going to be disappointing to the majority of Warlord fans who will never be satisfied with a thin coat of Warlord-colored paint on a Fighter chassis.

Which is why I keep returning to things like the comparison between Eldritch Knight Fighter and Wizard. Or, for a slightly different but parallel example, between Zealot Barbarian and Paladin: they're both divine warriors fuelled by conviction and leaping into the fray, but fans of Paladins would never have been satisfied by telling them they could reflavor Rage as a temporary holy blessing or "battle litany" or the like. Just because it has the same superficial flavor and mechanics that can be reflavored if you squint does not mean it is fit for purpose.

*This is the beauty of 4e's marking mechanic: it forces DMs to make real choices, it does not cause mind control. It's inspired by real world actions, specifically soccer/football players, where literal defenders "mark" either specific specific opponents or specific areas (just like the two types of marking in 4e) for harrying their opponents' actions. But if a 4e Defender becomes too good at punishment, enemies will learn never to ignore their marks, especially if the Defender has weak defenses as a result. The ideal situation is always one where the DM is forced to choose between two equally awful options: eat the nasty mark punishment and possibly miss an attack, or avoid the mark punishment but flail nigh-uselessly against a heavily armored, high-HP target.
 
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Pauln6

Explorer
I mean, it certainly couldn't hurt. Fighters (especially Champs) need some boosts to keep up. I fully expect the Champion to get some changes in "5.5e" because the bonus crit damage only barely keeps up with Paladins as-is IF the group runs many combats every day.

But the issue, for me at least, remains that the Fighter, whether you give it toned down AW maneuvers or revamp its subclass features or tweak its baseline class features...it's too built up for personally dealing damage (even if it does fall behind other classes mathematically unless you get enough short rests in its current form) and personally shrugging off problems (Indomitable, Second Wind) to really have room for any tactics-focused features.

I don't mean this as a criticism of your proposals, which are creative and should be quite good for anyone who felt things were close as they were but just slightly too far off the mark. Instead, my issue is that exactly what people complained about with the 4e Fighter has actually happened, but without the ability to build around it. In 4e, you could totally build a viciously effective Fighter who could dish out tons of damage—to the point that some advice actually recommended not going so hard for extra damage and instead bulking up your defenses, because you might make your damage so high that your DM will decide it's never worthwhile to risk disobeying your mark, which makes all that damage investment wasted.*

By forcing the Warlord to only be expressed through the Fighter in 5e, we are left with a chassis that cannot accommodate the desired features. Since 5e has eschewed both the Warlord class and sufficient resources to build toward an alternate role, the painfully limited customization options leave little room to change the Fighter's implicit role, and the Fighter has arguably the strongest implicit role in the game (deriving almost all of its power from its class features, with subclass being almost an afterthought.) It would be sort of like if someone said that making a sports car model is unnecessary because any type of car can go at sports car speeds and be fancy and sporty, so we're just gonna discontinue all sports cars and people can just take the sporty subtype of the new, customizable sedan model coming out: it has sporty features, but a sports car it ain't.

Perhaps a more pertinent criticism: while this makes for some good baseline level improvements, it does nothing for the two long-standing criticisms about Battle Master maneuvers. First, they suffer from extremely minimal scaling, going from 1d8 to 1d12, meaning an average gain of only 2 points across a character's maximum level range. Second, all maneuvers belonging to the same "tier," so getting your 6th and 7th maneuvers is...not very interesting, you likely already have all the maneuvers you want with just the first five (or six, if you take Superior Technique). IOW, if you want to fix some of the problems for both Fighters generally and Warlord style Fighters more specifically, consider developing Advanced Maneuvers that require training in "basic" maneuvers and which give better benefits, but which can't be used willy-nilly. There is of course the X-per-encounter option, but it might be better to instead do maneuver-specific triggers that are unlikely to be spammable or which become tougher after the first use. For example, the first time you use some particular one you must just be adjacent to an enemy who is also adjacent to one of your allies, but the second time you must have (and choose to forego) Advantage on the attack roll in order to use it (symbolizing that you have set up beneficial circumstances that let you do it again), and further attempts might require that and let an enemy make an opportunity attack because they're catching on to your tactics.

Overall though...I just don't think most Warlord fans are ever going to be satisfied with tweaks and filigree added to the Fighter, because the 5e Fighter was built to be a "tanky bruiser," to appropriate the MOBA term: high defense and high offense, mediocre mobility, low utility and support. Making a subclass able to deliver the high levels of support desired by Warlord fans would almost surely make that subclass ridiculously overpowered. But offering a subclass with the minimal support and utility features required to not be OP is going to be disappointing to the majority of Warlord fans who will never be satisfied with a thin coat of Warlord-colored paint on a Fighter chassis.

Which is why I keep returning to things like the comparison between Eldritch Knight Fighter and Wizard. Or, for a slightly different but parallel example, between Zealot Barbarian and Paladin: they're both divine warriors fuelled by conviction and leaping into the fray, but fans of Paladins would never have been satisfied by telling them they could reflavor Rage as a temporary holy blessing or "battle litany" or the like. Just because it has the same superficial flavor and mechanics that can be reflavored if you squint does not mean it is fit for purpose.

*This is the beauty of 4e's marking mechanic: it forces DMs to make real choices, it does not cause mind control. It's inspired by real world actions, specifically soccer/football players, where literal defenders "mark" either specific specific opponents or specific areas (just like the two types of marking in 4e) for harrying their opponents' actions. But if a 4e Defender becomes too good at punishment, enemies will learn never to ignore their marks, especially if the Defender has weak defenses as a result. The ideal situation is always one where the DM is forced to choose between two equally awful options: eat the nasty mark punishment and possibly miss an attack, or avoid the mark punishment but flail nigh-uselessly against a heavily armored, high-HP target.
Yes, the fighter is the simple baseline class for players who eschew complexity. That does nothing for people who would quite like a more complex fighter without a magical chassis.

I have seen upper tier manoeuvres that cost two superiority dice but border on magical (allowing multiple allies to move; creating shockwaves to knock multiple enemies prone, granting temp hp to multiple allies and granting saving throws etc.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'm kind of against wedding Maneuvers to Superiority Dice, since you run into the problem that you can't have a lot of dice, or people will start freaking out about your damage. A pool like Ki might be better, IMO. Call it...a "Bravura" pool.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'm kind of against wedding Maneuvers to Superiority Dice, since you run into the problem that you can't have a lot of dice, or people will start freaking out about your damage. A pool like Ki might be better, IMO. Call it...a "Bravura" pool.

We;ll that's because 5e edition was designed around having multiple short rests a day.

Back when I was brainstorming a Scholar class, I pondered having "Brain Points" equal to your Intelligence score per long rest. So with 12 INT, you'd have 12 points a day. That's the same amount as superiority dice as 2 short rest and 1 long rest.
 

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