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D&D 5E Homebrew: Fighter hacking notes

Quickleaf

Legend
I've been hacking the fighter class for a...uh...a while, and have a rough draft I'm starting to playtest.

I welcome specific feedback on my take – but, knowing that can feel a bit tedious – I also invite general thoughts about goals/reasons for hacking the fighter, criticisms, or your own experiences / drafts. This conversation has come up many times before, so consider this both a continuation and invitation whether you've considered this question before or it's your first time.

DISCLAIMER: Also, this is just one fan's take. As best I can tell, the PHB fighter is very popular, so I'm not speaking proscriptively about what the publishers "should" do. I'm an oddball.

2018-03-09-RPG-Party.jpg


What are my reasons / goals for hacking the fighter class?

1. Non-combat Options: Fighters needing non-combat features is a contentious belief. The argument that all non-combat options are covered by feats & skills, and since the fighter gets more feats, therefor this is sufficiently covered... never really held water to me. Thieves Cant and Druidic, for example, do not exist in the feats/skills, yet they're a good storytelling tool for rogue and druid PCs. The whole concept of a warlock's patron offers storytelling juice that is baked into the warlock class. Similarly, a wizard's spellbook offers a unique form of treasure and storytelling hook for wizard PCs.

"Heroic Deeds” are my take on class features focused on roleplay and exploration that embody a fighter's evolving story as they level. They are the Labours of Hercules or the tales the fighter tells at the tavern. They can be described as a warlock invocation-esque descendent of the barony/followers rules old school fighters got at 9th level.

2. Speed Up Combat: Multiple attack rolls – especially when amplified by haste or Action Surge – are one of the things I've noticed contribute to longer turns. Similarly, the 2024 fighter playtest includes Weapon Masteries that often involve secondary rolls/saves after attack+damage, which compounds the issue (akin to those Battle Master maneuvers requiring saves). To speed combat, I wanted to cut down on rolling, yet still provide for cool effects.

“Deathbringer” offers an incentive for the player to consolidate multiple attacks into one, helping to speed up combat and encouraging dramatic finishing blows. “Weapon Expertise” offers a similar option to consolidate attacks for a special effect – inspired by Baldur’s Gate 3 but keeping the number of rolls down. "Reliable Attack" echoes the rogue's Reliable Skill / take 10 approach, but eschews having to roll altogether for one attack roll.

3. Diversity of Play Styles: Players I've GMed for have different preferences for complexity level and play style with fighters, and I wanted to accommodate this.

For example, a player desiring a simpler experience can ignore “Weapon Expertise” without losing any effectiveness, while a player desiring more complexity can find combos between “Weapon Expertise” and a Battle Master's maneuvers. “Iron Guard” (with its 3 choices) allows for a variety of builds based on actions and reactions, not just Second Wind. “Warrior’s Multiattack” (with its 3 choices) offers ways to emulate AD&D fighters cutting through hordes and 4th edition defenders, alongside the Action Surge option.

4. Differentiate the Fighter in Battle (with Simplicity): With other martial classes receiving Fighting Style and Extra Attack to some degree, it's hard to see the fighter’s uniqueness beyond being the guy who attacks a lot. Other designers resolve this extremely well with maneuvers and talents, better than I ever could, but this comes with added complexity. I wanted my answer to be simpler and optional.

“Weapon Expertise” makes weapon choice interesting and impactful for fighters – but it's optional in that you don't need to consolidate your Extra Attacks if you don't choose to in the moment. "Deathbringer" makes the fighter more likely to deliver finishing blows to wounded monsters – it's also optional in the same way.

Additionally, I've expanded the Fighting Style options available to the fighter – playtesting (like so much of this) will help determine which ones should be opened to other classes and which should be kept fighter exclusive (if any). “Mastered Fighting Style” at higher levels distinguishes a fighter’s Fighting Style from that of other martial classes.

5. Gaps Compared to Paladins/Rangers: There are gaps in the fighter’s progression at 2nd, 3rd, and 5th level compared to other martial classes, which my redesign addresses. For example, at 2nd level a Ranger gets Fighting Style and Spellcasting (a 2nd Paladin also gets Divine Smite), whereas the 2nd Fighter just gets Actions Surge. At 3rd level Rangers and Paladins gain an extra spell slot & an extra feature (Primeval Awareness / Divine Health) in addition to their subclass feature, whereas fighter's just get the subclass feature (which is not more powerful than those of 3rd level Ranger or Paladin subclasses). At 5th level, the Ranger and Paladin gain 2nd-level spells in addition to Extra Attack, while fighter just gets Extra Attack.

Thus, I've added "Heroic Deeds" starting at 2nd, "Weapon Expertise" at 3rd, and "Deathbringer" at 5th.

6. Indomitable isn't Great: Indomitable is inferior to monk’s Diamond Soul and feels hit-or-miss.

I've replaced it with “Fortitude” mirroring the rogue’s Evasion feature, only halving damage of a failed save once per turn.

7. Needs a Better Capstone: While it won't matter for most games, I moved the 20th level “Extra Attack” to 17th level, emulating cantrip damage progression. The removal of Indomitable (which would grant 3 uses at 17th) makes space for this change.

I replaced it with 20th level “Legendary” giving the fighter 2 off-turn actions like a legendary monster. I took inspiration from the warlord stat block in VGtM which has legendary actions.

Next post: The class rewrite
 
Last edited:

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Quickleaf

Legend
Quickleaf's Fighter hack 0.4

This variant is intended to be compatible with published subclasses for the fighter.
The Champion subclass is heavily redesigned.

LevelProficiency
Bonus
Class FeaturesHeroic Deeds
1st
2​
Fighting Style, Iron Guard, Opportunity Attack
–​
2nd
2​
Heroic Deeds, Warrior’s Multiattack
1​
3rd
2​
Martial Archetype, Weapon Expertise
1​
4th
2​
Ability Score Improvement
1​
5th
3​
Extra Attack, Deathbringer
2​
6th
3​
Ability Score Improvement
2​
7th
3​
Martial Archetype feature
3​
8th
3​
Ability Score Improvement
3​
9th
4​
Fortitude
4​
10th
4​
Martial Archetype feature
4​
11th
4​
Extra Attack (2), Reliable Attack
4​
12th
4​
Ability Score Improvement
5​
13th
5​
Mastered Fighting Style
5​
14th
5​
Ability Score Improvement
5​
15th
5​
Martial Archetype feature
6​
16th
5​
Ability Score Improvement
6​
17th
6​
Extra Attack (3)
6​
18th
6​
Martial Archetype feature
7​
19th
6​
Ability Score Improvement
7​
20th
6​
Legendary
7​

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per Fighter level
Hit Points at 1st level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per Fighter level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Light armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose 3+your Intelligence modifier from Acrobatics, Airways, Animal Handling, Athletics, Craft, Commerce, Dungeoneering, Endurance, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion, Riverways, Roadways, Seamanship, Streetwise, and Survival (Note: this references my homebrew skills, so if playing RAW skills, just treat this as the normal "Choose 2")

1st: Fighting Style
You adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

Adaptive Fighting*
When fighting in an environment where you lack the appropriate speed or appropriate weapon type, your attacks do not suffer disadvantage due to the environment or weapon (e.g. climbing on a cliff; flying in zero-gravity; facing an enemy with an astral speed on the Astral Plane; a greatsword in a cramped space; swimming while not wielding a dagger, short sword, spear, javelin, dart, crossbow, or trident).

Archery
You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.

Blind Fighting
You have blindsight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn't behind total cover, even if you're blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you.

Defense
While you are wearing armor, gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Dueling
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

First Blood*
Once per turn, when you damage a creature that is at maximum hit points with a melee attack, you deal 1d6 additional damage.

Great Weapon Fighting
When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.

Interception
When a creature you can see hits a target, other than you, within 5 feet of you with an attack, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage the target takes by 1d10 + your proficiency bonus (to a minimum of 0 damage). You must be wielding a shield or a simple or martial weapon to use this reaction.

Protection
When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a shield.

Quickdraw*
You gain a +2 bonus to your initiative rolls, and if you are not surprised when rolling initiative you may draw a weapon at the start of combat before your turn.

Superior Technique
You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype. If a maneuver you use requires your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver's effects, the saving throw DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice).
You gain one superiority die, which is a d6 (this die is added to any superiority dice you have from another source). This die is used to fuel your maneuvers. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest.

Thrown Weapon Fighting
You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.

Two-Weapon Fighting
When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack. (Note: In my house rules, I remove the bonus action stipulation for two-weapon fighting. If you don't do that, consider adding such language here)

Unarmed Fighting
Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier on a hit. If you aren't wielding weapons or a shield when you make the attack roll, the d6 becomes a d8.
At the start of each of your turns, you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to one creature grappled by you.

Versatile Fighting*
While wielding a versatile weapon in two hands, you can use your bonus action to gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls you make with the weapon until the end of your turn.
While wielding a versatile weapon in one hand, you can use your bonus action to gain a bonus to AC against the next melee attack against you before the start of your next turn equal to your proficiency bonus.

1st: Iron Guard
You’ve trained in a particular method of maintaining your guard during combat. When your guard is “broken”, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again. Choose one of the following:

Bulwark
While you are wearing medium or heavy armor, or wielding a shield, when you take the Ready or Dodge action, or use an action to equip a shield, you become immune to damage equal to or less than the sum of your Constitution modifier and your proficiency bonus (e.g. a fighter with 14 Constitution at 5th level would be immune to attacks or effects dealing 5 damage or less). This lasts for one minute, after which your guard is broken.

Parry
When you would be hit by a melee attack made by an attacker you can see, you can parry the blow using your reaction so long as you are wielding a weapon or shield. Roll a number of d6’s equal to your proficiency bonus and reduce the attack’s damage by that amount. However, if you take any damage from an attack you parried, your guard is broken.

Second Wind (revised)
You have a limited well of stamina that you can draw on to protect yourself from harm. On your turn, you can use a bonus action to expend a Hit Die and regain hit points equal to 1d10 + your Constitution modifier + your Fighter level. Using your second wind breaks your guard until the end of your next turn.
(Note: that last bit is an error I just caught, leftover from old version)

1st: Opportunity Attack
You gain the ability to make opportunity attacks. (Note: My house rule is that opportunity attacks are not the default. If you play with opp. attacks RAW, simply ignore this feature.)

2nd: Warrior’s Multiattack
At 2nd level, choose one of the following: Action Surge, Against the Horde, or Stalwart Defender.

Action Surge
You can push yourself beyond your normal limits for a moment. On your turn, you can take on additional action on top of your regular action and a possible bonus action. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
Starting at 17th level, you can use Action Surge twice before a rest, but only once on the same turn.

Against the Horde
When you use the Attack action, you may forgo your normal attacks to make one attack against each creature with Challenge Rating 1/2 or less within reach. The number of attacks you can make in this manner equals your Fighter level, but you make one attack roll and compare it to the AC of all the creatures. You may move in between these attacks as normal. However, if you select an opponent with a CR greater than this, your attack comes to an abrupt halt.
At 8th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 1 or less. At 11th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 2 or less. At 14th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 3 or less. At 17th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 4 or less.

Stalwart Defender
You have trained to threaten enemies attempting to evade you. Your opportunity attacks no longer require a reaction, though you can only make one opportunity attack against a given creature in a round. The maximum number of opportunity attacks you can make in one round is equal to your proficiency bonus. Additionally, you can make an opportunity attack against a creature that moves more than 5 feet while within your reach.
Starting at 17th level you have advantage on your opportunity attack rolls.

2nd: Heroic Deeds
Starting at 2nd level, you gain a heroic deed, reflecting your adventures. You gain additional heroic deeds at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, and 18. Each heroic deed may only be selected once, unless otherwise noted.

Boon Companion
You’ve grown especially close to one of your traveling companions. This grants both of you several benefits:
  • You always have a sense of your companion’s state, both emotionally and in terms of health.
  • You can use the Help action while within 30 feet to grant your boon companion a saving throw against an effect that allows ongoing saves to resist it.
  • When you roll initiative, you and your companion may swap initiatives if you both wish.
  • When either of you casts a spell or uses a class feature that would benefit only themself, it also benefits the other if they are within 30 feet.
Special: This deed may be selected multiple times.

Burden Bearer
You can carry the burdens that weigh heavy on weaker shoulders. Double the maximum weight you can pull/push/lift, and increase your Equipped Item Slots by 1 and Packed Item Slots by 2. (Note: I use slot-based encumbrance. If you use regular encumbrance or don't track encumbrance, ignore the second sentence and simply double the max. weight you can carry)

Campaigning
You’ve learned to appraise military units, encampments, and fortifications. This requires anywhere from 1 minute to 1 hour of observation or interaction, as determined by your DM. Choose to learn a number of the following equal to your proficiency bonus:
  • Name of the unit and its history.
  • Name of the commanding officer and his or her reputation.
  • Number of soldiers and siege equipment.
  • Morale of the unit or camp.
  • Overall weather and terrain readiness.
  • Presence of elite fighting forces.
  • Status of any supply lines/caravans.

Cohort
You’ve gained the services of a loyal cohort. Your cohort uses the Sidekick rules. When helping you don or doff armor, the time is halved. They can also use their own action to equip you with a shield.

Commanding Presence
You’ve led forces into mass combat. Creatures under your command gain advantage on morale checks, and if they’re called to make a saving throw against fear they can use your save instead of their own.

Common Touch
Everyday folk find it easy to relate to you, and their default reaction to you is Friendly unless they have a compelling reason to feel otherwise.

Destiny
You are destined to leave a lasting mark on the world, and though divinations confirm this, the exact nature of your future is always unclear. Among those who know of your destiny, your Charisma checks to convince them you are the hero they’ve been hoping for have advantage. Choose one of the following destinies, or create your own with your DM:
  • Chosen One – You are destined to be imbued with power by a deity or otherworldly entity.
  • Kingslayer – You are destined to slay a tyrant.
  • Once and Future Sovereign – You are destined to claim a throne that is conquered, vacant, or forgotten.
  • Tragic Hero – You are destined to suffer a terrible setback due to your flaw, but rise to victory after.
  • The Seeker – You are destined to discover a mythical creature, land, or magic weapon.
Dragon Slayer
Prerequisite:
Must have slain a dragon
You’re known for slaying a dragon, and have learned much of dragonkind since then. You have advantage on Intelligence checks to recall lore about dragons. When you roll a critical hit against a dragon, you can make a “called shot” such as a wing attack (force it to land), gullet stab (expend its breath weapon), or dazzling blow (reduce its Legendary Actions by 1 for one round).

Friend of the [race]
Choose a race of creatures besides humans – such as elves or stone giants – who you befriended or performed a great service for. Gain advantage on your Charisma checks when interacting with members of that race. If the GM is uncertain how a NPC of that race would respond to you, their default attitude is Friendly. Additionally, you learn their language.
Special: This deed may be selected multiple times.

Hero of the Games
When engaging in a prizefight or an athletic game like jousting or charioteering, you have advantage on your ability checks.

Heroic Endurance
Prerequisite:
Proficiency in Endurance (Note: This is a homebrew skill. Instead, you can replace it with Con 13+ or simply remove the prerequisite)
You were pushed to the limits of mortal endurance and you persevered. Once per day after a short rest you may reduce your exhaustion level by your Constitution modifier. Additionally, you suffer no penalty from sleeping in light or medium armor.

Hidden Backstory
Choose a second Background. This might reflect a storied life, deep cover, dying and being resurrected, recovering from amnesia, or burying these skills due to some tragedy or personal vow.

Improvised Tool
A story is told of how, in the hour of need, you used a weapon as an improvised tool. Apply your proficiency bonus to any ability checks made with a weapon, such as hewing a door with an axe, performing a scimitar dance, or spear-hunting fish.

Martial Mentor
You helped villagers defend themselves. During a short or long rest, you can introduce the basics of handling a specific martial weapon, a specific suit of armor, or shields to one companion. That companion gains proficiency in the corresponding weapon, armor, or shield until their next short or long rest.

Master Smith
Gain proficiency in Craft (smith’s tools), or expertise if you’re already proficient. During downtime, halve the amount of time it takes you to craft arms and armor, whether they are magical or nonmagical. When inspecting arms and armor you recognize the culture it came from, and potentially the name of the smith. Additionally, when making an Intelligence check to recall lore about magical weapons or armor, and when attuning to such items, you gain advantage.

Merrymaker
The joy you spread at feasthalls and taverns is sung about by bards. Gain advantage on any checks involving feasting and drinking. When carousing during downtime add your Fighter level.

Mount Care
Prerequisite:
Proficiency in Animal Handling
During a short rest, you can care for up to 8 mounts, allowing the mounts to spend Hit Dice to heal during a short rest. They regain extra hit points equal to your proficiency modifier for every hit die spent.
When used during a long rest you can procure mounts for yourself and up to 7 companions.

Rejected by Death
Prerequisite:
Must have been raised from the dead
You have advantage on your death saving throws, and when you would die you may challenge Death to a game of wits with your soul in the balance.

Remarkable Athlete
Prerequisite:
Proficiency in Athletics
You gain a climbing and swimming speed equal to your walking speed, and your jumping distance is doubled.

Signature Item
You are known for a specific item, such as a sword, a signet, a helmet, or shield. This item becomes imbued with magic through your heroism over the course of your adventures. While you have 1-4 Fighter levels, the item is magical and gains a minor magical property (DMG 143) or sentience. While you have 5-10 Fighter levels, it also grants a +1 bonus to AC, +1 attack and damage, or another minor magical property. While you have 11-16 Fighter levels, this bonus increases to +2 or gain a +1 bonus to another of these categories. While you have 17-20 Fighter levels, this bonus increases to +3 or gain a +1 bonus to another of these categories.

Strength of Ten Men
You have an indomitable spirit and will to fight on. Against spells and effects that target a certain number of hit points (e.g. sleep, color spray), or have an effect against creatures with a certain number of hit points or fewer (e.g. divine word, power word kill), treat your current hit points as ten times their actual amount. Spells and effects that would outright kill you at 0 hit points leave you dying instead (e.g. Life Drain).

Trophy
You’ve acquired a knack for taking trophies from monstrous foes. When not engaged in combat, you can make a Charisma (Intimidation) check against creatures of a type similar to a trophy you’ve claimed to frighten them. A creature against whom your check succeeds becomes frightened. This lasts for one minute (or as long as your DM determines).
A trophy must be equipped (it takes up 1 slot) in order to be used in this way. (Note: I use slot-based encumbrance. If you use regular encumbrance or don't track encumbrance, consider only allowing one trophy to be used at a time)

Weapons Collector
You’ve collected an array of weapons from defeated foes, and train to wield them. When you undertake training during a week of downtime, you may learn how to use a new weapon.

Woodcutter
Prerequisite:
Proficiency in Survival
Wood wise and handy with an axe, you are skilled in identifying types of wood and felling trees. Wooden creatures (plants, constructs, casters benefiting from barkskin) suffer vulnerability to damage from your axe attacks. Likewise, when using an axe to chop down a wooden door or barricade, you deal double damage. When you wield a Handaxe it gains the Vex property. When you wield a Greataxe, it gains the Cleave property.

Wound Binding
During a short rest, you can expend one use of a healer’s kit to expertly bind your wounds or the wounds of a willing creature. You or that creature gains advantage on any Hit Dice spent to heal at the end of the short rest.

3rd: Weapon Expertise
Starting at 3rd level, when you wield a weapon, you can use it to perform expert techniques.

Cleave
When you wield a battleaxe, glaive, great sword, greataxe, halberd, or longsword, you can use your Action to make a Cleave attack. You make a melee attack with the weapon against two creatures both within your reach, using one attack roll and comparing it to both the creature’s ACs. However, after making a Cleave attack you cannot use a reaction until the start of your next turn.
When you reach 5th level as a fighter, you may attack three creatures within your reach when using Cleave. When you reach 11th level as a fighter, you may attack four creatures within your reach when using Cleave. When you reach 17th level as a fighter, you may attack five creatures within your reach when using Cleave.

Deep Slash
When you wield a dagger, handaxe, rapier, scimitar, shortsword, or sickle, you can use an Action to make a Deep Slash attack. A creature hit takes damage as normal, but starts bleeding, taking 1d4 damage of the same type at the start of its next turn. If the creature receives magical healing or a creature uses an action to make a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check to staunch the blood, it is no longer bleeding. However, if you miss on a Slash attack, the target gains advantage on its attacks against you before the end of its next turn.
When you reach 5th level as a fighter, the creature continues bleeding until it succeeds a Constitution saving throw at the end of its turn. The DC of this save is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Dexterity or Strength modifier. At 11th level as a fighter, increase the bleeding damage to 1d6. At 17th level as a fighter, conventional Medicine will no longer staunch the flow of blood.

Pin Down
When you wield a hand crossbow, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, longbow, or short bow, you can use an Action to make a Pin Down attack. A creature you hit takes damage as normal and has its speed reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn.
When you reach 5th level as a fighter, you reduce the creature’s speed by 20 feet. At 11th level as a fighter, you reduce the creature’s speed by 30 feet. At 17th level as a fighter, you reduce the creature’s speed by 40 feet. If this reduces its speed below 0, then it takes the remainder as piercing damage.

Rush
When you wield a javelin, lance, pike, spear, or trident, you can use an Action to make a Rush attack. Move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and make a melee attack with your weapon against two creatures that you move within reach of. If you do not have 20 feet of movement left, or cannot move 20 feet (e.g. due to difficult terrain), you cannot use make a Rush attack.
When you reach 5th level as a fighter, you may attack three creatures along your path when using Rush. When you reach 11th level as a fighter, you may attack four creatures along your path when using Rush. When you reach 17th level as a fighter, you may attack five creatures along your path when using Rush.

Smash
When you wield a club, great club, light hammer, mace, maul, morningstar, warhammer, or war pick, you can use an Action to make a Smash attack. Multiply your Strength modifier by your proficiency bonus when adding to the damage of your attack. However, reduce your place in initiative by -5. If this would reduce your initiative below 0, you cannot make a Smash attack.

Topple
When you wield a flail, quarterstaff or whip, you can use an Action to make a Topple attack. If you hit the target, as a bonus action you can make a Shove attempt to knock it prone.
When you reach 5th level as a fighter, the target takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage when knocked prone. When you reach 11th level as a fighter, increase the damage the target takes when knocked prone to 2d6 and rising from prone after being toppled requires all of the target’s movement (not half). When you reach 17th level as a fighter, increase the damage the target takes when knocked prone to 3d6 and if the creature rises from prone before the end of its next turn, it provokes opportunity attacks.

4th+: Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and against at 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th levels, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score over 20 using this feature.

5th+: Extra Attack
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice (instead of once) when you take the Attack action on your turn.
The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class and to four when you reach 17th level in this class.

5th: Deathbringer
Starting at 5th level, you can make a devastating finishing blow. Before rolling to attack, you can choose to sacrifice any of your additional attacks granted by Extra Attack to deliver a deathbringer blow, gaining +1 to hit and an additional die of damage corresponding to your weapon per attack sacrificed (e.g. +1d10 for a longsword wielded with two hands, or +2d6 for a great sword). This bonus is cumulative, so an 11th level Fighter sacrificing two attacks would gain +2 to hit and two additional damage dice on their single attack (e.g. +2d10 for a longsword wielded with two hands, or +4d6 for a great sword).
Additionally, if your attack would reduce the enemy to a number of hit points equal to your Fighter level or less, you instead reduce them to 0 hit points.

9th: Fortitude
Starting at 9th level, once per turn when you fail a saving throw against an effect dealing damage, you may choose to take half damage.

11th: Reliable Attack
At 11th level, you have refined your skill-at-arms to near perfection. Once per turn, when you make an attack roll that lets you add your proficiency bonus, and you do not have disadvantage on the roll, you can choose to treat the d20 roll as a 10 instead of rolling.

13th: Mastered Fighting Style
At 13th level, choose one fighting style you know and modify it according to the improved version below.

Adaptive Fighting Mastery
You can make a check to navigate an unusual environment as a bonus action (e.g. balancing on a log during a duel, maintaining control of a wild pegasus while Dodging lightning, swimming against the current while fighting sahuagin).

Archery Mastery
Increase your attack bonus with ranged weapons to +3. Additionally, if you Ready an action to make an attack with a ranged weapon, you gain advantage on your attack roll.

Blind Fighting Mastery
You blindsight increases to a range of 30 feet. Additionally, you do not need to be able to see a hostile creature in order to make an opportunity attack against them or Dodge their attacks; you only need be aware of their presence.

Defense Mastery
Your AC bonus while you are wearing armor increases to +2. Additionally, you can restore your guard (see Iron Guard) as an Action once per short or long rest.

Dueling Mastery
Your bonus to damage when Dueling increases to +4.

Great Weapon Mastery
When you reroll a damage die while using Great Weapon Fighting, treat any result of 2 or lower as a 3.
Additionally, if you roll the maximum damage possible for the weapon you’re wielding, you can push the enemy 5 feet away from you and knock it prone, if it’s no more than one size larger than you.

Interception Mastery
When you use Interception, you reduce the damage the target takes by 2d10 + your proficiency bonus.

Protection Mastery
When you use this fighting style, apply disadvantage on all attacks rolls the creature makes against your ally until the end of your ally’s next turn.

Technique Mastery
Increase your superiority die to a d8, gain an additional superiority die, and learn an additional maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Battle Master archetype.

Thrown Weapon Mastery
You gain a +1 bonus to attacks made with thrown weapons, and being within 5 feet of a creature of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls with thrown weapons.

Two-Weapon Mastery
When you make an opportunity attack, you can attack with both your main hand and offhand weapons. When you forgo attacking with your offhand weapon on your turn, until the start of your next turn you may use your reaction to increase your AC by 2 against one melee attack made against you by a creature that you can see.

Unarmed Mastery
Your unarmed strike damage increases to 1d8 + your Strength modifier, or d10 if you strike with two free hands. Additionally, the damage you can deal to a grappled creature increases to 2d4.

Versatile Mastery
When wielding a versatile weapon with two hands, you may use Reliable Attack twice per turn, instead of only once, provided both attacks are made with the versatile weapon wielded with two hands.
While wielding a versatile weapon in one hand, as a reaction when you are attacked by a creature you can see, you can change your baseline AC from 10 + armor + DEX to a d20 roll + armor + DEX. If your roll is 9 or less, treat it as a 10. This AC change lasts until the end of the current turn.

20th: Legendary
At 20th level, you gain 2 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. You regain spent legendary actions at the start of your turn.

Charge. You move half your speed in a straight line towards a creature that you can see.
Command Ally. You target one ally you can see within 30 feet of you. If the ally can see and hear you (and understands your language), it can make one attack as a reaction.
Maneuver. You make a Disarm, Grapple, or Shove attempt.
Shake It Off. You roll a saving throw against an ongoing effect that usually only allows a saving throw at the start or end of a turn.
Weapon Attack. You make one weapon attack.
 

Attachments

  • QL_Fighter hack_0.4.pdf
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dave2008

Legend
I've been hacking the fighter class for a...uh...a while, and have a rough draft I'm starting to playtest.

I welcome specific feedback on my take – but, knowing that can feel a bit tedious – I also invite general thoughts about goals/reasons for hacking the fighter, criticisms, or your own experiences / drafts. This conversation has come up many times before, so consider this both a continuation and invitation whether you've considered this question before or it's your first time.

DISCLAIMER: Also, this is just one fan's take. As best I can tell, the PHB fighter is very popular, so I'm not speaking proscriptively about what the publishers "should" do. I'm an oddball.

2018-03-09-RPG-Party.jpg


What are my reasons / goals or hacking the fighter class?

1. Non-combat Options: Fighters needing non-combat features is a contentious belief. The argument that all non-combat options are covered by feats & skills, and since the fighter gets more feats, therefor this is sufficiently covered... never really held water to me. Thieves Cant and Druidic, for example, do not exist in the feats/skills, yet they're a good storytelling tool for rogue and druid PCs. The whole concept of a warlock's patron offers storytelling juice that is baked into the warlock class. Similarly, a wizard's spellbook offers a unique form of treasure and storytelling hook for wizard PCs.

"Heroic Deeds” are my take on class features focused on roleplay and exploration that embody a fighter's evolving story as they level. They are the Labours of Hercules or the tales the fighter tells at the tavern. They can be described as a warlock invocation-esque descendent of the barony/followers rules old school fighters got at 9th level.

2. Speed Up Combat: Multiple attack rolls – especially when amplified by haste or Action Surge – are one of the things I've noticed contribute to longer turns. Similarly, the 2024 fighter playtest includes Weapon Masteries that often involve secondary rolls/saves after attack+damage, which compounds the issue (akin to those Battle Master maneuvers requiring saves). To speed combat, I wanted to cut down on rolling, yet still provide for cool effects.

“Deathbringer” offers an incentive for the player to consolidate multiple attacks into one, helping to speed up combat and encouraging dramatic finishing blows. “Weapon Expertise” offers a similar option to consolidate attacks for a special effect – inspired by Baldur’s Gate 3 but keeping the number of rolls down. "Reliable Attack" echoes the rogue's Reliable Skill / take 10 approach, but eschews having to roll altogether for one attack roll.

3. Diversity of Play Styles: Players I've GMed for have different preferences for complexity level and play style with fighters, and I wanted to accommodate this.

For example, a player desiring a simpler experience can ignore “Weapon Expertise” without losing any effectiveness, while a player desiring more complexity can find combos between “Weapon Expertise” and a Battle Master's maneuvers. “Iron Guard” (with its 3 choices) allows for a variety of builds based on actions and reactions, not just Second Wind. “Warrior’s Multiattack” (with its 3 choices) offers ways to emulate AD&D fighters cutting through hordes and 4th edition defenders, alongside the Action Surge option.

4. Differentiate the Fighter in Battle: With other martial classes receiving Fighting Style and Extra Attack to some degree, it's hard to see the fighter’s uniqueness beyond being the guy who attacks a lot. Other designers resolve this extremely well with maneuvers and talents, better than I ever could, but this comes with added complexity. I wanted my answer to be simpler and optional.

“Weapon Expertise” makes weapon choice interesting and impactful for fighters – but it's optional in that you don't need to consolidate your Extra Attacks if you don't choose to in the moment. "Deathbringer" makes the fighter more likely to deliver finishing blows to wounded monsters – it's also optional in the same way.

Additionally, I've expanded the Fighting Style options available to the fighter – playtesting (like so much of this) will help determine which ones should be opened to other classes and which should be kept fighter exclusive (if any). “Mastered Fighting Style” at higher levels distinguishes a fighter’s Fighting Style from that of other martial classes.

5. Gaps Compared to Paladins/Rangers: There are gaps in the fighter’s progression at 2nd, 3rd, and 5th level compared to other martial classes, which my redesign addresses. For example, at 2nd level a Ranger gets Fighting Style and Spellcasting (a 2nd Paladin also gets Divine Smite), whereas the 2nd Fighter just gets Actions Surge. At 3rd level Rangers and Paladins gain an extra spell slot & an extra feature (Primeval Awareness / Divine Health) in addition to their subclass feature, whereas fighter's just get the subclass feature (which is not more powerful than those of 3rd level Ranger or Paladin subclasses). At 5th level, the Ranger and Paladin gain 2nd-level spells in addition to Extra Attack, while fighter just gets Extra Attack.

Thus, I've added "Heroic Deeds" starting at 2nd, "Weapon Expertise" at 3rd, and "Deathbringer" at 5th.

6. Indomitable isn't Great: Indomitable is inferior to monk’s Diamond Soul and feels hit-or-miss.

I've replaced it with “Fortitude” mirroring the rogue’s Evasion feature, only halving damage of a failed save once per turn.

7. Needs a Better Capstone: While it won't matter for most games, I moved the 20th level “Extra Attack” to 17th level, emulating cantrip damage. The removal of Indomitable (which would grant 3 uses at 17th) makes space for this change.

I replaced it with 20th level “Legendary” giving the fighter 2 off-turn actions like a legendary monster. I took inspiration from the warlord stat block in VGtM which has legendary actions.

Next post: The class rewrite
Sounds interesting, I look forward to your next post. I take from the tone of this post that your design is anticipated to work with 5e? It should be balanced and "play nice" with a group of 5e PCs?
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Sounds interesting, I look forward to your next post. I take from the tone of this post that your design is anticipated to work with 5e? It should be balanced and "play nice" with a group of 5e PCs?
Hey Dave ☺️ Yes, that's my intent, though I think my hack may be more in line with the power upgrade across the 2024 classes, which - as best I can tell from playtests - are very roughly ~1 level higher in power from 2014 versions.
 

aco175

Legend
Against the Horde
When you use the Attack action, you may forgo your normal attacks to make one attack against each creature with Challenge Rating 1/2 or less within reach. The number of attacks you can make in this manner equals your Fighter level, but you make one attack roll and compare it to the AC of all the creatures. You may move in between these attacks as normal. However, if you select an opponent with a CR greater than this, your attack comes to an abrupt halt.
At 8th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 1 or less. At 11th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 2 or less. At 14th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 3 or less. At 17th level, this increases to Challenge Rating 4 or less.
I like this, but it feels a bit wordy and overly complicated. I might skip the moving part and make it just a close burst 1 power like 4e. I kind of picture the movies where the good guy bursts out of a pile of mooks.
 

dave2008

Legend
Looks very interesting. You said this works with existing subclasses correct? I look forward to seeing your take on the champion. Also, would you remove the 2024 weapon specialties (or whatever it is called) or use them with this class too?

Also, do you chose one Weapon Expertise or do get them all?

EDIT: I see there is more in the PDF. Look good, I may adapt some of this. Champion feels much better, but still simple - nice work
 

dave2008

Legend
I like this, but it feels a bit wordy and overly complicated. I might skip the moving part and make it just a close burst 1 power like 4e. I kind of picture the movies where the good guy bursts out of a pile of mooks.
I like what they have, but I see your point as well. Not sure what the best answer is. I like the idea of moving through the horde, but how to simplify how that is expressed?
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
Looks very interesting. You said this works with existing subclasses correct? I look forward to seeing your take on the champion. Also, would you remove the 2024 weapon specialties (or whatever it is called) or use them with this class too?

Also, do you chose one Weapon Expertise or do get them all?

EDIT: I see there is more in the PDF. Look good, I may adapt some of this. Champion feels much better, but still simple - nice work
I would not use 2024 weapon masteries with this - they’re designed to INCREASE rolls with greater complexity, while my design is to reduce rolls and maintain complexity roughly the same level.

Edit: I am also still ironing out interactions with Battle Master maneuvers.

Weapon Expertise is one feature that encompasses ALL those options. You get them all.

Thanks!
 
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Horwath

Legend
I would not use 2024 weapon masteries with this - they’re designed to INCREASE rolls with greater complexity, while my design is to reduce rolls and maintain complexity roughly the same level.

Edit: I am also still ironing out interactions with Battle Master maneuvers.

Weapon Expertise is one feature that encompasses ALL those options. You get them all.

Thanks!
weapon masteries that have a save can be simplified with +/- 5 mechanics.
Instead of save vs. prone, if you beat AC by 5 or more, your target is prone.
 

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