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?


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
@DND_Reborn - I do have one question:

Why, when 20 levels is already too many for the majority of tables, do your revisions all go to 30 levels? Are you fighting against the tide here?

Put another way, is there merit in looking at reducing the overall number of levels to, say, 15, rather than increasing them to 30; and thus commensurately reducing the amount of overall power at "capstone" stage, for al classes?
 

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HammerMan

Legend
Okay so talking it over last night with some of the gang here is the theoretical fix we came up with.

go through Bo9S and 4e fighter/Warlord powers and scrub the mechanics but keep the flavor of about 100 powers between them (some will duplicate with next step) (also remember stances... you will want a few of those...there are things in 4e that look like them by another name)

Take all the battlemaster maneuvers.

from this new list (removing dups like commander strike) segregate them into 4 groups. assign them to the 4 tiers of play (some of us said to redo the tiers of play but this was already a big thing).

take the Psi Knight we take the psi die (some said start it at d4 but I thinkd6) You start with 1 at 1st level then 2 at 2nd and at 3rd it becomes double prof... you also gain a way to regain them based on subclass "when you X recover 1 martial die" like how all the rogue subclasses has diffrent ways to generate sneak attack, BUT then also get 1 back per short rest.

now remechainc all of the above maneuvers with the mechanics of "use a martial die" or "decrease your martial die" but... the ones you took as 'stances' are just "as long as you have a martial die"

so a 10th level fighter would have 8 martial dice recover all on a long rest 1 back each short rest, and a subclass way to regain them. they would be d8 or d10 (we redid the chart and could not agree) to start the day. HOWEVER. some maneuvers you just have (all fighters start with a parry that allows you to as a reaction decrease damage from a single attack equal to your die roll) and some you choose at level ups. Some cost dice (Mountain hammer, on a hit spend a martial die and add double it to your damage, this attack ignores all resistance and immunities) some require you to lower the martial die until you take a short rest (min d4 even if it starts at d6) when it goes back up 1 die code to a max of your current diecode (example: Twornado strike decrease your martial die 1 step and make 2 attacks against any/all creatures within your weapons reach). Some though get turned on (maybe turning some more powerful ones on decrease or cost a martial die) but once you have it up it lasts all day concentration (so only 1 on at a time) (example Punishing stance: in this stance you deal your martial die as extra damage to all melee attacks that hit)

note: fighters get Con saves... so this makes them better then casters at holding concentration but far from guaranteed so you would have to be carful with stances costing things cause they are not going to last

keep second wind and action surge it's own thing and replace indomitable rerolls with legendary resistance auto success

you can have physical extra stuff (trip, sunder, disarm) you can have really cool anime extra stuff (double jump cut through mountain) and even magical stuff (light your blade on fire, teleport) as long as they are all options... and put into the proper tier. Better yet you can have social and exploration abilities in there as options too (smooth talker, climb perfectly, intimadating grin) and in the higher teirs (3 and 4) you can have some be shenanigan's (stomp earth quake costs 2 martial dice, cut into the ground and make a wall in 1 action X by X, jump from one city to the next in 1d4 rounds) and again since they are options you CAN take them or not...

now the champion would still get increased crits, and the eldritch knight would still get spells, ect ect
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
So two thoughts.
1. I read this and have no idea what your goals are for your fighter. I know your goal is not to significantly change damage, nova, defense or out of combat utility as that's what you just stated - though increasing out of combat utility was previously a goal. But I really have no idea what your goal currently is.
2. IMO. One thing that really helps with design is to not be overly rigid with precise implementations.
Hmm, perhaps it is just my goals for the Fighter are more subtle than others might want or appreciate? I thought I was pretty clear... 🤷‍♂️ :)

So, I'll elaborate on the issues one at a time and maybe some further explanation will help?

1. Out of Combat.

Two things can happen here, and I would like whichever causes the least disruption to the overall class structure.

A. Allow the ASI/feats at levels 6 and 14 to be used for Fighters to help them in the exploration and social pillars.

This allows players who want those things to be able to focus on them a bit to help with those pillars. It also allows players who are willing to leave those pillars to other PCs to focus on more combat-oriented feats. It does not help players who want both advancement in combat via those ASI/feats AND help in the other pillars. This is my preferred and current approach after taking the time to really examine the feats in the PHB.

B. Create new features for Fighters to support the exploration and social pillars.

This leaves the ASI/feats open for even more help in those pillars and/or help in the combat pillar as the player chooses. The downside is the new features are probably useless to the players who want to leave the other pillars to other PCs. This was my initial approach, but it also causes the greater change to the overall class structure.

So, I am leaning towards A at the moment, but willing to go back to B if that has greater appeal to more players.

I also see the possibility of having a feature like Action Surge allow more at higher levels by increasing the level of physical prowess fighters can accomplish. Whether they choose an aspect (like jumping, lifting, movement, etc.) or get all is up in the air. If Action Surge allowed say two actions, then three, and maybe even four, but understanding that the Attack action wouldn't be affected to the point of allowing 16 attacks or something crazy, I think it could work. My concern is it becomes too fiddly. It also really only helps the exploration pillar...


2. In Combat

Again, there a few approaches or views as I see them.

A. Fighters are already at (or near) the best and so doesn't need anything more for combat.

B. Fighters should be the best, but really aren't (or at least not appreciably so) because even caster classes have too many spells that directly affect combat. Fighters need to be able to cause damage to rival casters in tiers 3 and 4. (Or casters need to be nerfed so as to not be as combat-oriented?)

C. Fighters deal damage well enough, but lack the versatility to make them superior to other classes in combat and are also not nearly as interesting/fun to play.

My view is C, but a slight bit of B. However, with B I don't want to increase the power of fighters, but decrease the power of casters in combat.

3. Regards to Nova.

IMO Action Surge is the nova for Fighters and should remain so.

The problem as I see it is that it is tied to closely to only really benefiting attacks. Looking at the extreme case: Level 20. You have 4 attacks with Extra Attack (3), so Action Surge could allow 8 attacks, which is pretty Nova already. But, when it comes do "surging" to do other things, you cannot accomplish anything more at level 20 than you could at level 2! You could Dash (move 60) and Action Surge Dash (for another 30) at levels 2 and 20--no difference.

But, if we use the idea I outlined above and tried to implement with Heroic Surge and Marvelous Surge, at level 20 you could Dash (move 60), and then Marvelous Surge for Dash (+30), Dash (+30), Dash (+30), allowing you to move 150 feet!

Basically, a good way to think of it in a nutshell is when you Surge, you gain an extra action on your turn than can be used for anything other than Attack. Heroic Surge would give two additional actions, Marvelous Surge three additional actions. If you take the Attack action before surging, you can gain one additional attack per action instead of choosing new actions for your surge.

This way, at level 20, you Attack for 4 attacks as your action, and then Surge for 3 more actions. Any surge Attack is just one more attack, but you might choose to Dash, Attack, Dodge, allowing you a total of 5 attacks on your turn.

This makes Surging more Nova in the shenanigans you can do because you have more actions, not just more attacks.

By also allowing it a multiple to movement, Action Surge could double your capabilities (double jump distance, double lift, double swim speed, etc.) for physical prowess, Heroic Surge would triple them (so STR 16 could long jump 48 feet!), and Marvelous Surge quadruple them (STR 16 could lift 1920 lbs.!).

So, you only have one surge (maybe two in tier 4?) per short rest, but your Surge becomes more powerful allowing you to do some shenanigans. None of this rivals some high level spells, certainly, but with adding some BM maneuvers for versatility, it gets fighters closer.

Finally, my other suggestion is to nerf very high level spells which IMO are too good, but I know for many players (as had already been voiced) that would not appeal to them.

Hopefully that makes my positions more clear? Also, while I would love a class redesign I want to play, I am also doing this more of the people who want the "fix" between fighter and wizard. The approach I am taking might not be ideal, but I am worried too much makes the redesign too OP...
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Hmm, perhaps it is just my goals for the Fighter are more subtle than others might want or appreciate? I thought I was pretty clear... 🤷‍♂️ :)

So, I'll elaborate on the issues one at a time and maybe some further explanation will help?

1. Out of Combat.

Two things can happen here, and I would like whichever causes the least disruption to the overall class structure.

A. Allow the ASI/feats at levels 6 and 14 to be used for Fighters to help them in the exploration and social pillars.

This allows players who want those things to be able to focus on them a bit to help with those pillars. It also allows players who are willing to leave those pillars to other PCs to focus on more combat-oriented feats. It does not help players who want both advancement in combat via those ASI/feats AND help in the other pillars. This is my preferred and current approach after taking the time to really examine the feats in the PHB.

B. Create new features for Fighters to support the exploration and social pillars.

This leaves the ASI/feats open for even more help in those pillars and/or help in the combat pillar as the player chooses. The downside is the new features are probably useless to the players who want to leave the other pillars to other PCs. This was my initial approach, but it also causes the greater change to the overall class structure.

So, I am leaning towards A at the moment, but willing to go back to B if that has greater appeal to more players.

I also see the possibility of having a feature like Action Surge allow more at higher levels by increasing the level of physical prowess fighters can accomplish. Whether they choose an aspect (like jumping, lifting, movement, etc.) or get all is up in the air. If Action Surge allowed say two actions, then three, and maybe even four, but understanding that the Attack action wouldn't be affected to the point of allowing 16 attacks or something crazy, I think it could work. My concern is it becomes too fiddly. It also really only helps the exploration pillar...


2. In Combat

Again, there a few approaches or views as I see them.

A. Fighters are already at (or near) the best and so doesn't need anything more for combat.

B. Fighters should be the best, but really aren't (or at least not appreciably so) because even caster classes have too many spells that directly affect combat. Fighters need to be able to cause damage to rival casters in tiers 3 and 4. (Or casters need to be nerfed so as to not be as combat-oriented?)

C. Fighters deal damage well enough, but lack the versatility to make them superior to other classes in combat and are also not nearly as interesting/fun to play.

My view is C, but a slight bit of B. However, with B I don't want to increase the power of fighters, but decrease the power of casters in combat.

3. Regards to Nova.

IMO Action Surge is the nova for Fighters and should remain so.

The problem as I see it is that it is tied to closely to only really benefiting attacks. Looking at the extreme case: Level 20. You have 4 attacks with Extra Attack (3), so Action Surge could allow 8 attacks, which is pretty Nova already. But, when it comes do "surging" to do other things, you cannot accomplish anything more at level 20 than you could at level 2! You could Dash (move 60) and Action Surge Dash (for another 30) at levels 2 and 20--no difference.

But, if we use the idea I outlined above and tried to implement with Heroic Surge and Marvelous Surge, at level 20 you could Dash (move 60), and then Marvelous Surge for Dash (+30), Dash (+30), Dash (+30), allowing you to move 150 feet!

Basically, a good way to think of it in a nutshell is when you Surge, you gain an extra action on your turn than can be used for anything other than Attack. Heroic Surge would give two additional actions, Marvelous Surge three additional actions. If you take the Attack action before surging, you can gain one additional attack per action instead of choosing new actions for your surge.

This way, at level 20, you Attack for 4 attacks as your action, and then Surge for 3 more actions. Any surge Attack is just one more attack, but you might choose to Dash, Attack, Dodge, allowing you a total of 5 attacks on your turn.

This makes Surging more Nova in the shenanigans you can do because you have more actions, not just more attacks.

By also allowing it a multiple to movement, Action Surge could double your capabilities (double jump distance, double lift, double swim speed, etc.) for physical prowess, Heroic Surge would triple them (so STR 16 could long jump 48 feet!), and Marvelous Surge quadruple them (STR 16 could lift 1920 lbs.!).

So, you only have one surge (maybe two in tier 4?) per short rest, but your Surge becomes more powerful allowing you to do some shenanigans. None of this rivals some high level spells, certainly, but with adding some BM maneuvers for versatility, it gets fighters closer.

Finally, my other suggestion is to nerf very high level spells which IMO are too good, but I know for many players (as had already been voiced) that would not appeal to them.

Hopefully that makes my positions more clear? Also, while I would love a class redesign I want to play, I am also doing this more of the people who want the "fix" between fighter and wizard. The approach I am taking might not be ideal, but I am worried too much makes the redesign too OP...
IMO 99% of what you just wrote was about your approach and specific implementations you believe will be improvements. I still don’t feel I know your goals. Which is okay - you don’t have to list out goals to my satisfaction. I’m not sure how to offer any insights about your design without that though.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
2. In Combat

superior to other classes in combat

The Fighter should be the best at dealing damage-per-round. But other classes are swapping out damage to contribute to combat in other ways.

D&D is primarily a combat game. Because all classes need to contribute to the combat pillar equally, to make one class superior to all other options, thus the only viable option for combat, feels like a nonstarter.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
IMO 99% of what you just wrote was about your approach and specific implementations you believe will be improvements. I still don’t feel I know your goals. Which is okay - you don’t have to list out goals to my satisfaction. I’m not sure how to offer any insights about your design without that though.
So these statements weren't enough?

So, I am leaning towards A at the moment, but willing to go back to B if that has greater appeal to more players.
Fighters can become better in exploration and social by using their bonus feats. I don't (personally) feel they need separate features to allow them to accomplish their goals. However, this isn't just for me, so if people want new features to help fighters with exploration/social, we can see what we can come up with and add them.

My view is C, but a slight bit of B. However, with B I don't want to increase the power of fighters, but decrease the power of casters in combat.
In other words, Fighters need more toys (i.e. things they can do) other than just attack. Fighters also need to be the best in combat, but because virtually ever class is decent in combat, they don't outshine others enough to make them truly "the best" IMO.

IMO Action Surge is the nova for Fighters and should remain so.
Fighters don't need more Nova when it comes to attacks, but need more uses for it so they can really do more than just swing a weapon.

If that still doesn't help you, I guess I am just not seeing what you are asking for. 🤷‍♂️
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
New Idea for Fighter Feature I had while driving home today.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Last Measure (suggested 13th or 17th levels?)
Fighters at this level have learned to give it their all and not hold anything back when it really matters.

When you make an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or damage roll, you can choose to spend one or more of your hit dice, adding the total of the hit dice results to the d20 roll or damage. You must choose the number of hit dice you wish to roll before rolling any.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.


---------------------------------------------------------------------

This could serve as an alternative Fighter nova ability, obviously.

Originally I had it limited to one hit die, but sort of like the idea of allowing more.

Thoughts?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
New Idea for Fighter Feature I had while driving home today.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Last Measure (suggested 13th or 17th levels?)
Fighters at this level have learned to give it their all and not hold anything back when it really matters.

When you make an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or damage roll, you can choose to spend one or more of your hit dice, adding the total of the hit dice results to the d20 roll. You must choose the number of hit dice you wish to roll before rolling any.

Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.


---------------------------------------------------------------------

This could serve as an alternative Fighter nova ability, obviously.

Originally I had it limited to one hit die, but sort of like the idea of allowing more.

Thoughts?
I generally dislike abilities that spend hit dice. Hit Dice are there to limit the likelihood of a 5MWD resulting from someone running out of HP. Abilities that expend them therefore make the 5MWD more likely. Granted, at once per short rest you're probably not going to be able to expend a ton of HD on it. I would, however, limit it to 1 HD per use for the same reason. Or just get rid of it altogether and just let the fighter add a d10 to a roll once per short rest without spending a HD (because it's not exactly an OP ability).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I generally dislike abilities that spend hit dice. Hit Dice are there to limit the likelihood of a 5MWD resulting from someone running out of HP. Abilities that expend them therefore make the 5MWD more likely. Granted, at once per short rest you're probably not going to be able to expend a ton of HD on it. I would, however, limit it to 1 HD per use for the same reason. Or just get rid of it altogether and just let the fighter add a d10 to a roll once per short rest without spending a HD (because it's not exactly an OP ability).
Is the concept appealing, though? Does the feature description make sense to the benefit?
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
@DND_Reborn - I do have one question:

Why, when 20 levels is already too many for the majority of tables, do your revisions all go to 30 levels? Are you fighting against the tide here?

Put another way, is there merit in looking at reducing the overall number of levels to, say, 15, rather than increasing them to 30; and thus commensurately reducing the amount of overall power at "capstone" stage, for al classes?
The shift for spell levels 7 - 9 into caster levels 21 - 30 is to make the largest change in the easiest fashion. I am only modifying that and don't need to rework all the other classes to fit into levels 1-15 (although I did this once already LOL).

The design goal is to keep the class tables as close to RAW as possible. This change would make it so level 20 casters could get 6th level spells (which are pretty powerful IMO), but keep the truly game-breaking stuff into the epic/superhero tier style of play for people who want it.

It also creates playable "ranges". Suppose you want a full "mundane game" then play levels 1-10 or 15. If you want a superhero game, start at level 11 and play to 30. And so on.

I don't really see any of the capstone features as nearly on par with spells level 7 - 9, but that is my view and I know others probably feel differently.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Sure.

I could see giving the fighter an adrenaline pool (or something) that can be used in lieu of HD, or to add to a roll this way, etc. I just wouldn't use HD.
Ok, thanks for your feedback!

I always liked viewing HD as the adrenaline pool/ inner strength, which is why you can spend it on a short rest to recovery hp, so I used it here.
 

The shift for spell levels 7 - 9 into caster levels 21 - 30 is to make the largest change in the easiest fashion. I am only modifying that and don't need to rework all the other classes to fit into levels 1-15 (although I did this once already LOL).

The design goal is to keep the class tables as close to RAW as possible. This change would make it so level 20 casters could get 6th level spells (which are pretty powerful IMO), but keep the truly game-breaking stuff into the epic/superhero tier style of play for people who want it.

It also creates playable "ranges". Suppose you want a full "mundane game" then play levels 1-10 or 15. If you want a superhero game, start at level 11 and play to 30. And so on.

I don't really see any of the capstone features as nearly on par with spells level 7 - 9, but that is my view and I know others probably feel differently.
I do wonder how you expect spellcaster players to react to these rather violent nerfs. Do any of your players play wizards? What's their take on your ideas?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Ok, thanks for your feedback!

I always liked viewing HD as the adrenaline pool/ inner strength, which is why you can spend it on a short rest to recovery hp, so I used it here.
Yeah, I've seen plenty of designs that followed that logic. And I'd even agree it makes sense from certain perspectives. I've felt the temptation myself.

The only problem is that doing so undermines what Hit Dice are meant to do, acting as a buffer against the 5MWD. I'd say that the only alternate uses for HD I might be in favor of would be those that also act against the 5MWD, like converting HD into spells slots. But I'd be wary of making such a change, since it could have the opposite effect. Players might be more inclined to nova if they knew they could just recharge their slots by burning HD, ultimately resulting in a net shorter work day (and a less challenging game).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I do wonder how you expect spellcaster players to react to these rather violent nerfs. Do any of your players play wizards? What's their take on your ideas?
All positive, but we prefer a low-magic game. I know a lot of players don't want to resort to shooting light crossbows, etc. but my group prefers to keep magic more low-key, rarer, etc.

Also, it helps with the issue of non-casters comparative power to casters, which we see as being extreme in tiers 3 and 4 especially. This current version isn't final, just the most "extreme" so far.

FWIW, Wizards are in my top three favorite classes:

Favorite combat: Fighter
Favorite skilled: Rogue
Favorite caster: Wizard

Every player in our group has plays full casters about half the time. One guy loves Druids, another favors Sorcerers, etc.

It really just depends on the style of game you want to play. I would rather adjust the casting progressions than just play levels 1-12 over and over.

EDIT: I should also point out a lot of players (not in my group, but other groups) like to begin at 3rd level when everyone has their subclasses, etc., so that was part of the design. At levels 1 and 2, you are truly an apprentice, without even a 1st level spell and only cantrips. At 3rd level, everyone has subclasses, etc. For people who find this too restrictive, you can just start at level 3 like those groups do anyway.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
The only problem is that doing so undermines what Hit Dice are meant to do, acting as a buffer against the 5MWD. I'd say that the only alternate uses for HD I might be in favor of would be those that also act against the 5MWD, like converting HD into spells slots. But I'd be wary of making such a change, since it could have the opposite effect. Players might be more inclined to nova if they knew they could just recharge their slots by burning HD, ultimately resulting in a net shorter work day (and a less challenging game)
FWIW, this is another use for HD is to gain more spell slots, but that is because we nerfed the number of spell slots casters get otherwise. If you want more, you have to pay for it. If you run out of HD, you can even resort to gaining levels of exhaustion. :devilish:
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The Rogue class contributes significantly to the combat pillar.

The Rogue has a higher damage-per-round than the Fighter does, at least than the sword-and-shield Fighter does.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
The Rogue class contributes significantly to the combat pillar.

The Rogue has a higher damage-per-round than the Fighter does, at least than the sword-and-shield Fighter does.
Which frankly to me and my group is a bug, not a feature. Rogues already excel at skills, so should be good at combat, certainly, but not to the point they rival or beat the fighter IMO.

I know WotC wanted "every class to be able to contribute", but fighters get the short end of the stick IMO... they can be beaten in combat, but really can't compete in exploration, social, or magic with the other classes. Their only hope really is a DM who likes to hand out magic items... :(
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The shift for spell levels 7 - 9 into caster levels 21 - 30 is to make the largest change in the easiest fashion. I am only modifying that and don't need to rework all the other classes to fit into levels 1-15 (although I did this once already LOL).

The design goal is to keep the class tables as close to RAW as possible. This change would make it so level 20 casters could get 6th level spells (which are pretty powerful IMO), but keep the truly game-breaking stuff into the epic/superhero tier style of play for people who want it.
One potential side effect to keep in mind is that if when the PCs need a high-level spell cast (the most common being Resurrection) they're going to have to find an even-higher-level NPC to do it for them than is currently the case, meaning the setting will have to accommodate said very-high-level NPCs.
 

One potential side effect to keep in mind is that if when the PCs need a high-level spell cast (the most common being Resurrection) they're going to have to find an even-higher-level NPC to do it for them than is currently the case, meaning the setting will have to accommodate said very-high-level NPCs.
Nah. Just get rid of resurrection so that death actually matters instead of just being a financial inconvenience.
 

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