5E Fixing the fighter (I know...)

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I didn’t want to hijack the other thread. And I know we’ve had dozens of these discussions. But there’s always a key part that seems to be missing in those other discussions, one I mentioned in that thread. That is, looking at the fighter class in total context. I.e, “casters can do X, and fighters can’t” while ignoring all the things fighters can do that casters can’t.

But first, let me just address a strawman that always gets thrown out there. No one who says the fighter doesn’t need fixing is saying the edition is perfect and you can’t criticize it. So let’s just avoid that type of hyperbolic strawman right now, and keep it out of the thread.

Ok, continuing...what I mean by total context is:

  • *The game is designed for all common play styles, so there must be a mechanically simpler class like the fighter
  • *Not every class is going to appeal to you, based on point number one, thus proposed changes aren’t needs. They are wants. That’s a difference
  • *Based on the requirements of class design, the champion fighter does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Ergo, not broken. Not doing what you want =/= broken
  • *The fighter has additional beneficial features that casters do not get, such as heavy armor, any weapon, more hit points, infinite sustained damage capability, additional feats (which often are more impactful and powerful than any other built in class feature of other classes). These benefits can’t be ignored when comparing what a nova class can do that can do better things, but with many other restrictions tied on that balance them out (limited uses, interruption, components, squishier, concentration, etc)
  • *A simpler class that has less moving parts is not just a newb class, or for new players. Many experienced players prefer that style, just like many experienced players prefer a mundane class

So, knowing all of the above are objectively true, how do you “fix” the fighter while keeping all of the above in play? Many things I’ve heard are just giving the fighter powers that are basically for all intents and purposes, spells. I.e., who cares what you call it if does the exact same thing as a spell does and it’s reality bending. Those suggestions break several of the points above, however. It takes away from the simple class some people prefer, takes away the mundane class some people prefer, and combined with the additional benefits, can make the class unbalanced.

For purposes of this discussion, I’m looking for suggestions that don’t counter any of the above requirements. Also, I know players who want more “powers” options out of their fighters can always play an Eldritch knight or battlemaster so the champion can be left well alone, but for this discussion, let’s assume we are talking about the champion.

In my opinion, there are a couple of things that could be done that still meet the above list and can address many of the grievances I hear. These are:
*changing remarkable athlete to give full prof bonuses to any str or dex skill, and double prof bonus to any two proficient skills. -OR- maybe something along the lines of having a climbing and swimming speed that equals your movement speed, and jumping distances increase by prof bonus.
*the first four ASI improvements also allow you to choose one saving throw you’re not proficient in, and gain that proficiency.
* with each additional ASI improvement past the first four, choose one damage type, and gain resistance to that damage (various elemental, psychic, slashing, etc)
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Anyways to answer the OP’s question - simple can be defined a variety of ways. I’m not convinced something as simple as the champion is actually needed or in general desired. I think we are more in love with the idea of a super simple fighter than we are actually in love with super simple fighters.

Every class appeals to me on some level - except the champion fighter. Seems I’m not the only one in this boat.

If something was designed to be broken and requirements were still met then that thing is still broken...

Ultimately you can have simple classes while not removing nearly all moving parts. However, I doubt you can have a class that doesn’t need fixed (I’m sorry, doesn’t have major opportunities to be made better) that relies on no moving part mechanics, when in a game where most classes have moving part mechanics - that is without making the moving part mechanical classes nearly always inferior.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
The core fighter class is perfectly fine, for the reasons you list above. When the Fighter "needs fixed," it's because of the DM's style of gaming, allowing the 5MWD or similar. The longer between rests the day goes, the better the Fighter gets.

I feel their failure was in the sub-classes. Champion and Battlemaster basically fit the niche for almost all simple and complex types, with Eldritch Knight allowing for the gish type. The Battlemaster and EK are both mechanically powerful enough as it is. The Champion needs a bit of a boost, but not a lot. I'd have Remarkable Athlete add even if you are proficient, because as is, it's a poor man's jack of all trades. While I've not actually seen a Champion reach level 10, the Additional Fighting Style seems hard to utilize, since most characters focus one type, leaving Defense as the default second option, but I don't have a solution to it.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Given those objective truths that you note above, what about the fighter needs to be "fixed"?

I've played one to 20th in a group with high-level casters and never felt outshone, so I'm curious what is the gap that you want to shore up with this?
Personally I don’t think it needs to be changed or fixed. But a lot of people do, so perhaps there’s merit to at least looking at the argument. And if so, how can it be changed to alleviate those complaints without violating one of the aforementioned requirements.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Anyways to answer the OP’s question - simple can be defined a variety of ways. I’m not convinced something as simple as the champion is actually needed or in general desired. I think we are more in love with the idea of a super simple fighter than we are actually in love with super simple fighters.
Well, in my OP, I defined simple as being mechanically simple. Few moving parts. So there you go...

Every class appeals to me on some level - except the champion fighter. Seems I’m not the only one in this boat.

If something was designed to be broken and requirements were still met then that thing is still broken...
.
I do systems testing as a day job, and write requirements every day. No one designs requirements to be broken. That makes no sense. No class was designed to be broken. The fighter certainly isn’t. The champion was designed for people who wanted a mundane mechanically simple class. And in that, it succeeded well. Remember, don’t judge a class by the people it wasn’t designed for. Judge it by how well it was received by the people it was designed for. And in that regard, it’s succeeded.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Do they have a simple decision free blaster caster?
Warlock: Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast + Hex.

Rinse wash repeat just as a fighter would their weapon attacks. Plus they get their "4th attack" sooner than a fighter does. Even a new player can grock that combo as easily as playing a champion fighter from a mechanics standpoint.

Note because it's so easy and has so little complexity, this is the build that Treantmonk uses to calculate what "baseline damage" means to him to compare all other builds damages he does.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I didn’t want to hijack the other thread. And I know we’ve had dozens of these discussions. But there’s always a key part that seems to be missing in those other discussions, one I mentioned in that thread. That is, looking at the fighter class in total context. I.e, “casters can do X, and fighters can’t” while ignoring all the things fighters can do that casters can’t.

But first, let me just address a strawman that always gets thrown out there. No one who says the fighter doesn’t need fixing is saying the edition is perfect and you can’t criticize it. So let’s just avoid that type of hyperbolic strawman right now, and keep it out of the thread.

Ok, continuing...what I mean by total context is:

  • *The game is designed for all common play styles, so there must be a mechanically simpler class like the fighter
  • *Not every class is going to appeal to you, based on point number one, thus proposed changes aren’t needs. They are wants. That’s a difference
  • *Based on the requirements of class design, the champion fighter does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Ergo, not broken. Not doing what you want =/= broken
  • *The fighter has additional beneficial features that casters do not get, such as heavy armor, any weapon, more hit points, infinite sustained damage capability, additional feats (which often are more impactful and powerful than any other built in class feature of other classes). These benefits can’t be ignored when comparing what a nova class can do that can do better things, but with many other restrictions tied on that balance them out (limited uses, interruption, components, squishier, concentration, etc)
  • *A simpler class that has less moving parts is not just a newb class, or for new players. Many experienced players prefer that style, just like many experienced players prefer a mundane class

So, knowing all of the above are objectively true, how do you “fix” the fighter while keeping all of the above in play? Many things I’ve heard are just giving the fighter powers that are basically for all intents and purposes, spells. I.e., who cares what you call it if does the exact same thing as a spell does and it’s reality bending. Those suggestions break several of the points above, however. It takes away from the simple class some people prefer, takes away the mundane class some people prefer, and combined with the additional benefits, can make the class unbalanced.

For purposes of this discussion, I’m looking for suggestions that don’t counter any of the above requirements. Also, I know players who want more “powers” options out of their fighters can always play an Eldritch knight or battlemaster so the champion can be left well alone, but for this discussion, let’s assume we are talking about the champion.

In my opinion, there are a couple of things that could be done that still meet the above list and can address many of the grievances I hear. These are:
*changing remarkable athlete to give full prof bonuses to any str or dex skill, and double prof bonus to any two proficient skills. -OR- maybe something along the lines of having a climbing and swimming speed that equals your movement speed, and jumping distances increase by prof bonus.
*the first four ASI improvements also allow you to choose one saving throw you’re not proficient in, and gain that proficiency.
* with each additional ASI improvement past the first four, choose one damage type, and gain resistance to that damage (various elemental, psychic, slashing, etc)
I think I see where you are coming from, but I will have to give it more thought (I am off to work soon) before I can offer suggestions. However, I think some of the ideas you suggest are too good, especially saving throw proficiency. I would make gaining one saving throw proficiency at 9th as part of Indomitable would be enough.

Until later...
 
In my opinion, there are a couple of things that could be done that still meet the above list and can address many of the grievances I hear. These are:
*changing remarkable athlete to give full prof bonuses to any str or dex skill, and double prof bonus to any two proficient skills. -OR- maybe something along the lines of having a climbing and swimming speed that equals your movement speed, and jumping distances increase by prof bonus.
*the first four ASI improvements also allow you to choose one saving throw you’re not proficient in, and gain that proficiency.
* with each additional ASI improvement past the first four, choose one damage type, and gain resistance to that damage (various elemental, psychic, slashing, etc)
Yup. This rubs mightily against my complaints about the 5e system itself... but what non-caster classes need most is out-of-combat utility and resistance to save-or-sucks.

I'd been thinking about giving non-EK Fighters and non-AT Rogues half-proficiency on non-proficient saves. What Fighters really need, though, is the equivalent of Iron Heart Surge.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
I think I see where you are coming from, but I will have to give it more thought (I am off to work soon) before I can offer suggestions. However, I think some of the ideas you suggest are too good, especially saving throw proficiency. I would make gaining one saving throw proficiency at 9th as part of Indomitable would be enough.

Until later...
Or make Indomitable work as a Legendary Resistance, where when you use it you automatically succeed at the save you failed. And for the Additional Fighting Style, perhaps add another style, Resistant, that allows you to add half proficiency to all saves.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I think the main issue I can see for the Champion fighter is that they fall behind that Warlock combo in expected damage per round as early as level 3 when the Warlock gets Agonizing Blast and it only gets worse from there because the Warlock's Hex damage is multiplied on crits and is effectively always on.

The Champion fighter doesn't have any rider damages that take advantage of his/their expanded crit range which really hurts them and forces them to rely on a magic weapon or something that has energy damage added on to it (preferably cold since so many things are fire/poison resistant) or they are reliant on their party members to cast Elemental Weapon or Magic Weapon or both on them. They don't have a way to do that themselves.

They don't have Smites or Hunter's Mark or Hex or any of those bonus riders that can help damage per round, so they fall behind. Even the Battle master has their superiority dice which are going to be nice riders on their damage for many attacks (though certainly not all I acknowledge).

If we gave them something that added damage other than increased crit range their damage can keep pace with the EB warlock at least, I think they'd feel better about themselves. ;)
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Please enumerate what you think is broken about the fighter. Then we can agree/disagree, and work towards correcting it.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Please enumerate what you think is broken about the fighter. Then we can agree/disagree, and work towards correcting it.
The most common complaints I hear are that the fighter can’t do awesome stuff like spells can do, and that they can’t do anything of consequence out of combat.

My feelings on the former are well documented (if you want a class to do magical things, learn magic), but for the former, are there ways we can improve on the character and player agency while adhering to the above requirements.
 
I think the save throw edits you suggest are perhaps too powerful. Giving damage resistance seems like a stretch to me, but that's more about personal preference.

As for the perceived lack of spells: a high-elf fighter who takes the Magic Initiate feat and/or the Spell Sniper feat can give you a bit of zap without the need for multiclassing or the Eldritch Knight subclass.

Another way to make the fighter just a tiny bit more versatile and interesting would be to give them an extra skill proficiency at 2nd level, 8th level, and 12th level, which must be chosen from the class list. This ends up being the equivalent of the Skilled feat, spread out across 14 levels.
 
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