D&D 5E How to "fix" (or at least help) the fighter/wizard dynamic. (+)

How to best help Fighters get shenanigans to bridge the gap to Wizards?


DND_Reborn

Legend
From the other thread, can we get to work and actually do something to help the issue?

So, first, this is how I see it (you might see it differently) and I am more than willing to update/append the issues if I have something wrong. :)

ISSUE #1: Fighters fall behind Wizards in features which are game changing (shenanigans).

I recognize for many these might not feel like issues, but they are to many players. So, in the spirit of this being a (+) thread, feel free to offer suggestions to help, but please don't say "these issues don't exist". We know of others they might not, there is no need to tell us again. Thanks!

I also set this up as poll so as a summary people can just "vote" on the options below. If you have an option you would like to see added that I overlooked, let me know and I'll update the OP and the poll.

OPTION 1: Tiers of Play

Many people suggest tiers of play. In a broader sense I think something like mundane (1-10), heroic (11-20) and epic/superheroic (21-30) could work IF spell progression was expanded to match it; so mundane would be up to 3rd level (maybe?), heroic up to 5th or 6th, and superheroic for spells level 7 or higher.

If you want to start more heroic, perhaps start at a higher level? A superheroic game might begin at 15th level and play through to 30th, for example, while a more Xena-style might go from 5-20 or 1-15 or something.

OPTION 2: Degrees of Power

Now, I also like the idea of different paths/branches/whatever where you run the full levels 1-20 for each, but have escalating degrees of power:
  • Mundane
  • Heroic
  • Superheroic

This way a Champion Fighter might have more or improved features depending on the power level you want to play.

For example: Second Wind begins at 1d10+fighter level. The Heroic Option might be "You can also spend HD to gain more hit points when you use this feature." The Superheroic Option might be you gain a number of d10 equal to your proficiency bonus (so up to 6d10+fighter level) and can spend HD. 🤷‍♂️

OPTION 3: New Classes

Some have asked for just added a Paragon or Superhero-type class, where part of the class is that you have an origin story to make you better, etc.

Personally, I am not for the last option simply because I don't see how it can be balanced against current classes. Now, it can certainly be optional, just like elements of the other options, so it could be a viable solution for the people who want it.

(Not part of the poll.) - ISSUE #2: Fighters cannot impact the pillars of exploration and social meaningfully when Wizards spells can solve everything.

The other issue is the pillars of play and how fighters falter compared to others in wizards due to their spell versatility. Several things can be done in this respect:
  1. Stop making everyone good at combat. Make it so individuals excel at one pillar.
  2. Remove many spells that make the pillars too easily over come.
  3. Another option is to move spells to higher levels. So at lower levels mundane solutions work (and still work at higher levels), but at higher levels the party can "move beyond" the problem with spells if speed, etc. is essential.
  4. Give others features which mimic what those spells can do.
  5. And probably more...
Personally, I like options 1-3 regarding pillars of play the best, but 4 is probably the easiest to implement.

Thoughts on any of this?
 

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The Level Up fighter solves for issue#2, as far as I'm concerned. Combined with some minor wizard nerfs in the same game, and the breath of combat maneuvers, and the power gap is closed sufficiently for me as well.

However, I do like the new class idea. Perhaps a "super soldier" or "demigod" style character with explicitly superhuman abilities that grow in strength. Base class would have more generic abilities (improved speed, strength, Xtra feats and the like), while subclasses would have more specific super powers (you'd have your Captain America, your Perseus with all the gear, your Spider-Man type, maybe a baby Thor or Hulk). I think that concept could be balanced with the casters, while still feeling like someone who doesn’t waggle their fingers and shout nonsense to do cool stuff.
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
I actually think that using tiers of play is a reasonable solution. I could be wrong, but it seems like most of the folks who have real issues with scaling the fighter up also seem to be folks who play games that end before 10th level and like that power level. Scaling up the fighter at levels 11+ would solve problems for folks who want to play high level games where the disparity starts to get really bad while not actually breaking anything for folks who hate it but also only play lower level games anyway.
 


Laurefindel

Legend
first, I need to say that 5e is much better than 3.x/pathfinder in this regard.

Limiting tiers of play to level 10-13 ish mostly eliminate the most blatant parts of the issue. (voted option 2)

Also, part of the issue is exacerbated by the fast pace of "modern play". Characters advance in levels stupendously fast, hp are recovered with little rest and little resources, and character resources refresh relatively fast. Martial should have "weaker" and mundane resources that refresh quickly, casters should have powerful magical resources that take a longer time to recharge. This is mostly the case in the present (pre-5.5) edition, but this distinction is often downplayed for many reasons, some of which I do not have a satisfying solution for other than the gritty realism option in the DMG.

When caster must wait for a 7-day period of light activities to recover their spell slots while fighters regain most of their mojo overnight, you get your balance back. But it's a specific playstyle that doesn't fit all groups and all campaign, and the 3-6 encounters a day that would be otherwise required to thin out resources enough to keep the balance is not realistic enough to work as intended. Thus, casters can safely nova (or semi-nova) or spend important resources out of combat without too much worry, and that's where the imbalance stems from IMO.

I'm not keen on the addition of new classes, but I wouldn't be opposed to an alternate versions of the current classes used as a set (either you use all the new ones or all the old ones, no pick-and-choose).
 

aco175

Legend
Cutting back on power of spells is worth looking at. Also looking at what level the problem starts and where people play is important. If most games never get to level 15, then I'm not worried about level 20 being a problem. I get that some people do ,but if 80-90% of groups never get that high, then it is not worth fixing.

I would start at level 5 when you get 3rd level spells. Things like fireball and fly change the game from low-level play. Is a 2nd attack of a fighter the same as a fireball? Is the fighter dealing 10points of damage per swing the same as a thief dealing 20 or mage dealing 25 to 10 monsters? Maybe since the fighter can do that every round and the mage only 1/day.

Maybe looking to fix the encounters per day is the answer? Making resting not an option until you hit 8 encounters would cut back on casting if the mage knew my fireball might not be back for a few days. Not what I would like or suggest myself.

What about feats? Do all fighter need a cool +20 damage feat at 5th level to stay on-par? Nobody in my games have taken the 'broken' feats, but nobody has really played a wizard past 7th level. What about just adding powers to fighters to 'fix' the brokenness? An auto-hit feature or damage on a miss feature still does something. I fear that the conversation would just change to class X sucks and needs more stuff, so I would be more likely to take away from casters to 'fix' things.

I would still start with spells. Less damage or less options, maybe less slots. This can go to what kind of game you want as well. A Conan game with the wizard not having much power or a FR/Elminster game are very different.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I've worked out an alternate spell progression, so 3rd level spells aren't available until 9th level. So, spells like Fireball and Revivify feel more a match at that level IMO. This is based on option 1, where you get 7th level spells (like Resurrection and Teleport) at level 21 in the epic tier. Again, such spells feel more fitting there to me.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Reposted from the other thread:

One of the biggest regrets I think I have from the next playtest was moving superiority dice to a single subclass. I get they wanted the "roll to hit" champion fighter to be the training wheels class, but I think modern audiences can handle a fighter that got dice and maneuvers as core.

My idea would be to keep the core pool of maneuvers fairly mundane and leave the gonzo stuff to subclasses, but I'd still allow some heroic options in there as well (add superiority dice to the number of feet jumped vs jump's auto 60 ft). I'd also greatly expand the pool of dice to allow for more uses.

For subs:
Champion: bone simple abilities that add to either damage dealing or survivability. Reroll dice, added crit, that kinda stuff.
Battlemaster: gains more support stuff that makes you break out the battle mat and minis. A controller in 4e parlance with the ability to share his superiority dice with allies.
Cavalier: defender type warrior with lots of social abilities on the side.
Tracker: your non-magical ranger with bonuses to stealth, ambushes, and wilderness skills.
Arcane archer: use your superiority dice to fire Hawkeye arrows, fire, ice, seeking, putty, etc.
Psi-warrior: use your dice to basically do the psionic stuff they currently do.
Rune knight: mimic supernatural abilities like growing larger, powering weapons with elemental energy and teleporting around the room. A bit if the 4e sword mage.
Eldritch knight: add a small pool of wizard spells to your maneuvers.

If samurai somehow makes it over, he becomes the master of using morale rules and making speedy attacks..
 

In all the high-level games I'm in (and I'm in 2 right now with one that ended a couple months ago) - I just don't see the issue. In combat, fighters do a lot more damage and that's the only way to drop bosses. Even disintegrate doesn't one-shot anything.

Out-of-combat, no one's limited to class features, so class makes only a small difference. Fighters have allies and magic items and so on to do what they want to do.
 

Try to mitigate the disparity through setting?

The populace distrusts magic; all social interaction are given a higher difficulty rating for those who are known to wield magic. Yes, even bards.

Limit the amount of caster classes available; increase the number of Martial classes available.

Trinkets that will only attuned to non-casters. These trinkets give spell like abilities X amount per day
 

payn

Legend
In all the high-level games I'm in (and I'm in 2 right now with one that ended a couple months ago) - I just don't see the issue. In combat, fighters do a lot more damage and that's the only way to drop bosses. Even disintegrate doesn't one-shot anything.

Out-of-combat, no one's limited to class features, so class makes only a small difference. Fighters have allies and magic items and so on to do what they want to do.
It seems like the problem rears its head when the fighter turns on the wizard.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
An other things I'd like to experiment with at one time; currently, spells all recharge at the same rate regardless of their power or level. Many spells wouldn't be as problematic if they were one-offs (or you know, had some kind of time-dependent resource for them), part of the problem would fix itself.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Try to mitigate the disparity through setting?

The populace distrusts magic; all social interaction are given a higher difficulty rating for those who are known to wield magic. Yes, even bards.

Limit the amount of caster classes available; increase the number of Martial classes available.

Trinkets that will only attuned to non-casters. These trinkets give spell like abilities X amount per day
Pretty much any setting with heavy discrimination against PCs is begging to have whole swathes of the population rightly slaughtered by PCs that aren't going to take that.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Try to mitigate the disparity through setting?

The populace distrusts magic; all social interaction are given a higher difficulty rating for those who are known to wield magic. Yes, even bards.

Limit the amount of caster classes available; increase the number of Martial classes available.

Trinkets that will only attuned to non-casters. These trinkets give spell like abilities X amount per day
Fine if your setting is Dark Sun, terrible if your setting is Eberron.
 

Tiers of play definitely. It allows earlier levels to remain more grounded whilst recognising that high level characters are mythic heroes that don't need to be bound by the limits of the real world. It also perfectly fits to one of the most recognisable aspects of D&D, the journey from zero to hero. And it doesn't need any weird parallel and optional mechanics, nor a massive class bloat, both of which would just confuse new players.
 



Pretty much any setting with heavy discrimination against PCs is begging to have whole swathes of the population rightly slaughtered by PCs that aren't going to take that.
Fair enough.There are some players in my past that would do exactly that. This approach assumes that the players buy-in to the idea.
 

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