Fighting With Style, Fighting Styles as Level 1 subclass choices

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, I think the 5e Fighter should have loaded more of its juice into its subclasses, and treated the “fighting person” as an umbrella rather than pretend it’s an archetype.

The one one way I can think of to reverse engineer that without rebuilding levels 1-7 of the class entirely, is to add Fighting Styles that help you feel like you’re playing your planned archetype from level 1.

So, Champion and Battlemaster may be all set, possibly Cavalier (protection) as well, but what about the others?

Eldritch Knight. Needs to work at level 1 with no spells, and still be contributing to fun and efficacy after level 3. Perhaps attune to an element (X) during your long rest, and add 1d4 (x) damage once per turn to a successful attack, and add prof bonus to damage if your attack already deals that damage? Maybe something like Green Flame Blade but spelled out as a 1/turn effect when you hit with a weapon attack?

Arcane Archer. Make the above not specify melee weapon attacks, and it should work here too. Still, maybe the ability to make a target take extra (x) damage when damage is dealt to it next?

Samurai: Add proficiency to Init while armed with a sword? I don’t really recall what this subclass even does.

Purple Dragon Knight. I’ve no idea. THP an ally? MYbs has + HP to any ally who regains HP near you gain more?
 
I think the "farm boy drawn into an adventure" is an important archetype. So I think it's important for a "generic" class to exist that doesn't aquire special features until they have gained some experience.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Not all of the archetypes feel like they are tied to a fighting style though, nor do I think they need to be. I don't think that Champion or Battlemaster needs to be tied to a style choice at 1st level. Battlemaster especially I like with a range of weapon options available.

I think it would be more interesting to do the deconstruct you're avoiding and try rebuilding the class based more on fighting style choices. Take the three archetypes, mesh their stuff together, and reinvent them as skill trees and allow the fighter to switch a little more freely across those skill sets. Mind you, I feel like this would be cool for all the classes.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the "farm boy drawn into an adventure" is an important archetype. So I think it's important for a "generic" class to exist that doesn't aquire special features until they have gained some experience.
Okay. That has little to do with provide options for fighting styles that exemplify the archetype one plans on taking. Nothing about this proposal interferes with those who want to play that.

Also, that already doesn't exist in the game. Fighters get a fighting style and a very unique self heal at level 1. They're better than nearly anyone else at fighting within a specific style, and at staying upright in a fight, at level 1. That isn't a simple farmboy.

Not all of the archetypes feel like they are tied to a fighting style though, nor do I think they need to be. I don't think that Champion or Battlemaster needs to be tied to a style choice at 1st level. Battlemaster especially I like with a range of weapon options available.
I must be much worse than I thought at making things clear that are obvious to me. In the OP, I pointed out that Battlemaster and Champion are covered. I had assumed that this made it clear that there was no need to add any fighting style for them, as they'd just choose from the normal fighting styles precisely as they do now.

I think it would be more interesting to do the deconstruct you're avoiding and try rebuilding the class based more on fighting style choices. Take the three archetypes, mesh their stuff together, and reinvent them as skill trees and allow the fighter to switch a little more freely across those skill sets. Mind you, I feel like this would be cool for all the classes.
I think that would completely annihilate the simple on ramp of the fighter class, and the silo style niche protection and relative simplicity of leveling that is a big part of 5e's identity. A fun thing for a "powered by 5e" game, though.

My proposal is, again, simply to add Fighting Styles that directly support those archetypes that have a somewhat jarring change in what the character is at level 3, so that players who want to can start out playing a samurai or eldritch knight or purple dragon knight.

This feeling that you play a placeholder set of mechanics for a couple levels and then get to play the character you conceived of when you sat down to play, is the single biggest reason that nearly everyone I know literally never starts games at level 1, even when introducing new players, unless they are completely new to the idea of making a character. Like, haven't even played video games where you play a character and gain new abilities or otherwise improve over time.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Not all of the archetypes have a fighting style per se though, even if we exclude Champion and Battlemaster (which I see on a reread that you did exclude, mea culpa). The right background, skills, and style choices the fighter has right now can do a good job setting up a mounted warrior, or samurai, without the need for additional mechanics. That said, adding options to the pot is always fun, so the above isn't a reason not to do it.

I think mounted combat is a low hanging fruit in that regard, both for knightly types and maybe cavaliers. Arcane Archers seem like they are reasonably covered with just Archery and are probably going to want that over the extra small damage die even if it were an option. You could do a catchall magical attunement one though and it could be used for both the eldritch knight and arcane archer if a player wanted to go that route. A d4 magical superiority die thing could be cool, call it focusing will or whatever. Once per turn the PC can add the die to hit or damage. That would keep it thematically different from the other options available while leaving it generally at the right power level.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
As others have pointed out, fighting styles as they are mostly work fine with fighter archetypes.
I think that if you want to start the archetype at level 1 rather than 3, you're better off just adding an extra ability like the ones you suggested in exchange for having to make the decision earlier rather than messing with fighting styles.
 
[MENTION=6704184]doctorbadwolf[/MENTION] I love the idea. Nothing ticks me off more than eldritch knights suddenly learning spells at 3rd level with no hint of magicalness till then.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I feel like every class should gain an archetype at level 1. The rogue scout or valour bard are some of the archetypes that annoy me the most. I feel like rogue could have had 1st level archetypes that tied things like thieves tools and thieves cant to the archetype so that I can play a scout without either of those but instead have an additional language and maybe herbalism kit of survival as an archetype skill. Valour bard I'd like to be able to start out with battleaxe, chain shirt, and shield at level 1.

@doctorbadwolf I love the idea. Nothing ticks me off more than eldritch knights suddenly learning spells at 3rd level with no hint of magicalness till then.
I feel the same way. If I'm creating a character that will be an eldritch knight, I prefer it to be of a race that already has limited magic, high elf being my favourite. Although I guess it isn't really that different to multiclassing into wizard at 3rd level from a non-magical class but if I have the idea of creating an eldritch knight, I'd like the archetype to start from level 1. Part of this is probably due to my love of the fighter/wizard multiclass in 2e.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
As others have pointed out, fighting styles as they are mostly work fine with fighter archetypes.
I think that if you want to start the archetype at level 1 rather than 3, you're better off just adding an extra ability like the ones you suggested in exchange for having to make the decision earlier rather than messing with fighting styles.
Just popping in real quick on my break to point out that my proposal doesn’t mess with fighting styles.

it just adds more as a backdoor “level 1 archetype” for those archetypes that have a more jarring change of style at level 3.

Options that chqnge how the fighter gains their subclass would be the topic of a different thread.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I feel like every class should gain an archetype at level 1. The rogue scout or valour bard are some of the archetypes that annoy me the most. I feel like rogue could have had 1st level archetypes that tied things like thieves tools and thieves cant to the archetype so that I can play a scout without either of those but instead have an additional language and maybe herbalism kit of survival as an archetype skill. Valour bard I'd like to be able to start out with battleaxe, chain shirt, and shield at level 1.
I agree, and I’d love to do a whole DMsGuild product someday adding small features to each class with level 3 subclasses.



I feel the same way. If I'm creating a character that will be an eldritch knight, I prefer it to be of a race that already has limited magic, high elf being my favourite. Although I guess it isn't really that different to multiclassing into wizard at 3rd level from a non-magical class but if I have the idea of creating an eldritch knight, I'd like the archetype to start from level 1. Part of this is probably due to my love of the fighter/wizard multiclass in 2e.
@doctorbadwolf I love the idea. Nothing ticks me off more than eldritch knights suddenly learning spells at 3rd level with no hint of magicalness till then.
Exactly! You guys get it! Lol

so, how do we add a touch of magic to a level 1 fighter within the balance of Fighting Styles?
 

Horwath

Explorer
I agree, and I’d love to do a whole DMsGuild product someday adding small features to each class with level 3 subclasses.







Exactly! You guys get it! Lol

so, how do we add a touch of magic to a level 1 fighter within the balance of Fighting Styles?
Fighting style, combat magic:
You gain 2 cantrips from wizard, sorcerer or warlock list. Both cantrips must have magic attack roll or be used with weapon attack.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Fighting style, combat magic:
You gain 2 cantrips from wizard, sorcerer or warlock list. Both cantrips must have magic attack roll or be used with weapon attack.
I'd create 2 fighting style to replicate part of the Warcaster and Spellsniper feats:

Combat Magic: Can use melee weapon as focus for somatic components. Lear 2 cantrip from the wizard spell list.
Arcane Archery: Learn 2 cantrip from the wizard spell list that require an attack roll. If use while wielding a bow, replace the range of the spell with the one from the bow.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Fighting style, combat magic:
You gain 2 cantrips from wizard, sorcerer or warlock list. Both cantrips must have magic attack roll or be used with weapon attack.
That seems like a good bit more oomph than what other fighting styles get
 

Jer

Adventurer
I think the "farm boy drawn into an adventure" is an important archetype. So I think it's important for a "generic" class to exist that doesn't aquire special features until they have gained some experience.
But that isn't a fighter archetype - that's a protagonist archetype. That kind of character could become the Dread Pirate (rogue) Roberts or discover their inborn sorcerous abilities or be forced to make a pact with an archfey to save their life. Or meet an old retired mystic from a lost order of psionics users who gives them a laser sword and teaches them how to harness their inborn psionic abilities to fight blind and manipulate weak minds.

All of that is to say that for 5e D&D those are things that are background elements for the other classes before you start playing them. Why should the fighter class work differently?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But that isn't a fighter archetype - that's a protagonist archetype. That kind of character could become the Dread Pirate (rogue) Roberts or discover their inborn sorcerous abilities or be forced to make a pact with an archfey to save their life. Or meet an old retired mystic from a lost order of psionics users who gives them a laser sword and teaches them how to harness their inborn psionic abilities to fight blind and manipulate weak minds.

All of that is to say that for 5e D&D those are things that are background elements for the other classes before you start playing them. Why should the fighter class work differently?
Exactly. The farm boys I can think of off hand from modern fiction are Luke Skywalker and Rand Al'thor, a Monk and Sorcerer, respectively. Wesley could easily be argued to be a Battle Master Fighter, but I'd certainly play him as a rogue. As a fighter he'd require the Skilled feat, whereas as a rogue he'd need no specific feats.

Going back to Wheel of Time, you've also got Nynaeve and Egwene who I'd say are more Wizards (in a world where you can be born with a spark that allows wizardry), and Matt (rogue 100%) and Perrin (Barbarian or Ranger, maybe both. Would need a custom subclass for going into the dream world and having wolf senses and talking to wolves telepathically over significant distance, and even summoning them for aid on the hunt or in battle).

Inigo is probably a Fighter, but he was the son of a famous master blacksmith, and is old enough when we meet him that he's an unusually young Old Master, not a simple farm boy by any stretch.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
In another thread, we were talking about wanting to move the fighter subclass to first level. I think this would be a simple way of doing it. +1d4 elemental damage to your attacks isn't that much more than duelist's +2 damage, but maybe you could gate it behind knowing the Arcana skill.
 
Exactly! You guys get it! Lol

so, how do we add a touch of magic to a level 1 fighter within the balance of Fighting Styles?
What about:

You gain two evocation cantrips and 1 first level evocation spell that you can cast once per day. When you cast either cantrip or this spell you can add your fighter level to the damage dealt.

(I think this also has the potential to fix the eldritch knight war magic ability)
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Inigo is probably a Fighter, but he was the son of a famous master blacksmith, and is old enough when we meet him that he's an unusually young Old Master, not a simple farm boy by any stretch.
Wesley is an example of how heroic fiction often features super versatile characters
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
What about:

You gain two evocation cantrips and 1 first level evocation spell that you can cast once per day. When you cast either cantrip or this spell you can add your fighter level to the damage dealt.

(I think this also has the potential to fix the eldritch knight war magic ability)
So it's +20 damage at 20th level? Every time? Sounds a might strong, even at per day (which I'm assuming applies to the cantrips as well). If the cantrips are at will and you want to add level to damage IDK know what to say.
 

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