D&D General Fighters of Fantasy Literature - Tier List and Ranking! (Vote once per day through February 14th).

I'm not going to cry foul TOO hard; as noted, the elves we've got at the top of the food chain all have magic powers too, but I will quibble here. Elric is primarily a sorcerer, much as he uses that sword. As we know, he's deliberately designed to be the polar opposite of Conan. Putting him on a list of the greatest fighter-types in fiction seems off.
The rules as to "who qualifies as a fighter" aren't really specified. I would have been inclined to rule out anyone who uses magic - which as pointed out would throw out all those elves the OP included in the top tier. I would stat Glorfindel as a cleric for a start. Fingolfin could be a battlesmith artificer.

I would also have ruled out legendary characters like Robin Hood. There are way to many potentials, such as Gilgamesh.
 
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Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Icarium (Erikson)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett) <- added

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Croaker (Cook)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Bard (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin) <- moved down
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski) <-added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien) <-moved up. How many xp for a Witch King?
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)
 

Erekose

Eternal Champion
Ahem 😉

Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Erekose (Moorcock) <———— Added but I don’t want to drown out the list with all of the Eternal Champion incarnations
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Icarium (Erikson)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell) <———— Added
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Croaker (Cook)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell) <———— Added

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Decado the Ice Killer (Gemmell) <———— Added
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Bard (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin) <- moved down
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski) <-added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien) <-moved up. How many xp for a Witch King?
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Brienne of Tarth could take Bard the Bowman with one hand tied behind her back. They shouldn't even be in the same tier.

The question here isn't who has the greater reputation for heroism, but who is the better warrior - who would beat who one-on-one. Bard's one deed brought him great renown, sure, but renown doesn't help much when someone's beating you up.
 

TheSword

Legend
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien) ———— Moved up, he slew a Balrog single handed.
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Erekose (Moorcock)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Icarium (Erikson)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)


Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan) ————Moved up. Warder, greatest fighter in a world of legendary fighters. Undefeated.
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell)
Matt Cawthorn (Jordan) ————Added
Galad Damodred (Jordan) ————Added


Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Decado the Ice Killer (Gemmell)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Bard (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)
 
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Dioltach

Legend
He also trains Jaime how to fight with his other hand, and IMO if you're good enough to be the trainer for one of the best swordsmen in the realm that's saying something.

Edit to add: good call on Jean Tannen, @Blue - I knew there was a fighter in those books but couldn't remember who it was! :)
First up, I agree, Jean Tannen is a good call.

On your other point: pretty sure that in the book Jaime trains with Ser Ilyn Payne, not Bronn (because Payne can't tell anyone that Jaime can't fight anymore).

In general: no-one has mentioned Logen Ninefingers? The Bloody Nine? Who has killed more men than the plague?
 

Brienne of Tarth could take Bard the Bowman with one hand tied behind her back. They shouldn't even be in the same tier.

The question here isn't who has the greater reputation for heroism, but who is the better warrior - who would beat who one-on-one. Bard's one deed brought him great renown, sure, but renown doesn't help much when someone's beating you up.
Good against humans is one thing, good against dragons is something else.

"Who would win in a dual?" Is one way of ranking, "Who can kill the toughest monster" is a completely different one. And "who is the best military leader?" another again.

Although Bard could easily take Brienne at any range over 100 yards.
 


Amrûnril

Explorer
He also trains Jaime how to fight with his other hand, and IMO if you're good enough to be the trainer for one of the best swordsmen in the realm that's saying something.
On your other point: pretty sure that in the book Jaime trains with Ser Ilyn Payne, not Bronn (because Payne can't tell anyone that Jaime can't fight anymore).

I'm going by the book version, since it's the literature tier list, and since I've only seen fragments of the show. My understanding, though, is that the show expands Bronn's role and hypes him up more, so book Bronn in tier 1 and show Bronn in tier 2 might be a reasonable assessment.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think I have some reading to do - there's more and more names appearing on this list (both character and author!) that I've never even heard of. :)
 

Lord Shark

Explorer
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Erekose (Moorcock)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Icarium (Erikson)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)
Kane (Wagner)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell )

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Decado the Ice Killer (Gemmell)
Legolas (Tolkien)-
Gimli (Tolkien)
Bard (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier)

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)

Groo might deserve to be higher. He can, after all, fight entire armies singlehandedly if he's eager for a fray (or if someone calls him a mendicant).

I was a bit uncertain whether to put Kane in tier 3 or 4, but he is immortal and, as seen in Darkness Weaves and Bloodstone, can certainly shake the world when he puts his mind to it.

Moved Croaker down. From what I recall, he was a medic and Annalist, not a particularly great warrior in his own right, although he did lead the Company for a while.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Erekose (Moorcock)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Icarium (Erikson)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)
Kane (Wagner)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell )

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Decado the Ice Killer (Gemmell)
Legolas (Tolkien)-
Gimli (Tolkien)
Bard (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier) <-- Okay, Groo was awesome. Way too much fun for me not to vote for him. >looking pensive< "Did I err?"
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)

Groo might deserve to be higher. He can, after all, fight entire armies singlehandedly if he's eager for a fray (or if someone calls him a mendicant).

I was a bit uncertain whether to put Kane in tier 3 or 4, but he is immortal and, as seen in Darkness Weaves and Bloodstone, can certainly shake the world when he puts his mind to it.

Moved Croaker down. From what I recall, he was a medic and Annalist, not a particularly great warrior in his own right, although he did lead the Company for a while.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Moved Croaker down. From what I recall, he was a medic and Annalist, not a particularly great warrior in his own right, although he did lead the Company for a while.
I think he always undersells himself in the early books (both in terms of his own violence and in terms of his prowess). In the later books he's captain and general and (granted with help) shakes nations. The Green Ronin "The Black Company" book for d20 has him with a total 15 levels (academician 5/ fighter 3/ jack-of-al-trades 5/great general 2). So it felt to me like 3rd tier was about right from that standpoint. Although his HP and BAB would put him closer to effectively a 10th level fighter in terms of combat. So if its just pure fighting I can't argue too much with tier 2.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Icarium (Erikson)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs) <- down 1, they weren't two very good worlds though
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Erekose (Moorcock) <- correction
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett) <-correction

Kane (Wagner)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell )
Matt Cawthorn (Jordan)
Galad Damodred (Jordan)
Beren (Tolkien) <- added

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber) <- up one.
Bard (Tolkien)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)
Bragi Ragnarson (Cook) <- Added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)

@Erekose I adjusted two of yours (you get to add two each day at the bottom of a tier, and then get to shift two by one spot) and took the other two off
@South by Southwest did you change any or just copy the one above you?
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Does Mouser count enough to be on a fighter list (world's greatest swordsman)? Or is he to much a thief? 1e Deities and Demigods has him as Figher 11 / Magic User 3 / Thief 15
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The rules as to "who qualifies as a fighter" aren't really specified. I would have been inclined to rule out anyone who uses magic - which as pointed out would throw out all those elves the OP included in the top tier. I would stat Glorfindel as a cleric for a start. Fingolfin could be a battlesmith artificer.
If we do another one I'll have to think more about the rules!

To be fair though, Eldritch Knight is under fighter in 5e.

I would also have ruled out legendary characters like Robin Hood. There are way to many potentials, such as Gilgamesh.
At least more of us would have heard of them though :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Icarium (Erikson)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Erekose (Moorcock)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)
Kane (Wagner)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Hurin (Tolkien)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell)
Matt Cawthorn (Jordan)
Galad Damodred (Jordan)
Beren (Tolkien)

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Little John (Anon) <-- added then moved down
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin) <-- moved up
Bard (Tolkien)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)
Bragi Ragnarson (Cook)
Boromir (Tolkein) <-- added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)

For those I've heard of, the ordering in Tier 2 needs to be run through a blender - right now it's out to lunch.
 

TheSword

Legend
Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Icarium (Erikson)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Erekose (Moorcock)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)
Kane (Wagner)

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Hurin (Tolkien)
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan) —— Moved Up. Doesn’t need sleep.
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell)
Matt Cawthorn (Jordan)
Galad Damodred (Jordan)
Beren (Tolkien)

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Little John (Anon) —— Moved down for dirty trick to try and make him top of the tier. @Lanefan
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bard (Tolkien)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)
Bragi Ragnarson (Cook)
Boromir (Tolkein) <-- added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eowyn (Tolkien)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)
 

If we do another one I'll have to think more about the rules!

To be fair though, Eldritch Knight is under fighter in 5e.
It's hard to distinguish an EK from a multiclassed character, or something else all together. The hexblade, which is a warlock subclass in 5e, was directly based on Elric. Glorfindel is illustrated blasting the balrog with holy light, which would make him a cleric or a paladin. The easiest rule is to say if they use any magic in combat they don't qualify.
At least more of us would have heard of them though :)
Have a separate game for mythical types. I would make the rule "character did or did not exist before 1900".
 

Tier 4 - Masters of the World
Fingolfin (Tolkien)
Ecthelion (Tolkien)
Glorfindel (Tolkien)
Gil-Galad (Tolkien)
Icarium (Erikson)
John Carter, Warlord of Barsoom (Burroughs)
Elric of Melnibone (Moorcock)
Culain Lord of the Lance (Gemmell)
Erekose (Moorcock)
Cohen the Barbarian (Pratchett)
Kane (Wagner)
Gilgamesh the King (anon) <- added

Tier 3 - Masters of the Realm
Hurin (Tolkien)
Corwin of Amber (Zelazny)
Conan (Howard)
Aragorn (Tolkien)
Mandorallen (Eddings)
Al'lan Mandragoran (Jordan)
Drizzt Do'Urden (Salvatore)
Croaker (Cook)
Adolin Kholin (Sanderson)
Beowulf (Anon)
Druss the Legend (Gemmell)
Matt Cawthorn (Jordan)
Galad Damodred (Jordan)
Beren (Tolkien)

Tier 2 - Heroes of the Realm
Robin Hood (Anon)
Morley Dotes (Cook)
Little John (Anon) <- moved down for cheating. This guy is a local hero at best.
Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter (Moon)
Aillas of Troicinet (Vance)
Legolas (Tolkien)
Gimli (Tolkien)
Brienne of Tarth (Martin)
Fafhrd (Leiber)
Jaime Lannister (Martin)
Bard (Tolkien)
Bronn of the Blackwater (Martin)
Joscelin Verreuil (Carey)
Groo the Wanderer (Aragonés and Evanier)
Geralt of Rivia (Sapkowski)
Bragi Ragnarson (Cook)
Boromir (Tolkein)
Carrot Ironfoundersson (Pratchett) <- added

Tier 1 - Local Heroes
Eowyn (Tolkien) <- moved up
Jean Tannen (Lynch)
Eomer (Tolkien)
Cugel the Clever (Vance)
Merry (Tolkien)
Samwise the Brave (Tolkien)
 

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