D&D 5E I think Wizards balances classes using damage on a single target nova over 3 rounds.

ECMO3

Hero
Frankly I just don't think it's worth the fight to try and salvage the Fighter, given the baggage already on display. You're never going to break the people who define it by what it can't do, so it's better to start fresh with some new martial archetypes that no one is invested in complaining about when you let them do things.

THIS!!!

Leave the fighter alone, make something new to compete with the wish spell. If you don't wany magic, make a class where a character can use his strength to pick up a castle and move it, or make a mean face and frighten people, or make his lungs are so powerful he can suck the air out of an entire room and suffocate enemies for AOE damage or who can run so fast he can time travel or travel to different planes or jump so far he could jump from one continent to another much as a Wizard can teleport. You would have your non-magic class that can compete with a Wizard. You would not need magic and would not screw up the current fighter.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
THIS!!!

Leave the fighter alone, make something new to compete with the wish spell. If you don't wany magic, make a class where a character who can use his strength to pick up a castle and move it, or his lungs are so powerful he can suck the air out of an entire room and suffocate enemies for AOE damage or who can run so fast he can time travel or travel to different planes or jump so far he could jump from one continent to another much as a Wizard can teleport. You would have your non-magic class that can compete with a Wizard. You would not need magic and would not screw up the current fighter.
I just don't understand why that can't be the Fighter. Why does the Fighter have to be relegated to Little League while everyone else gets to play pro?

What do you get from FORCING people to never get to participate in most of the game?
 

ECMO3

Hero
I just don't understand why that can't be the Fighter. Why does the Fighter have to be relegated to Little League while everyone else gets to play pro?
Because that is what people want, and it is not everyone else that is pro. Monks, Barbarians, Artificers and Paladins are little league too. Bards, Warlocks, Rogues and Rangers are AAA and only Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics and Druids are majors.

Most of the people playing fighter are playing it for the theme and are not bother by being little league or in some cases embrace it. Meanwhile others would be very bothered by fighters moving up.

We want the current fighter. We like the current fighter right where it is.

One of my groups tried the new weapon mastery one session and decided we did not like it for fighters even though it improves "balance". It changed the feel of Fighters and Barbarians into something not as fun for the group. We decided to keep it on Monks and Rogues and we also expanded it to Sword Bards, Valor Bards and Hexblades because it felt right on those builds. That is what feels right to us, and I would imagine a lot of groups are that way.

What do you get from FORCING people to never get to participate in most of the game?
No one on my table is ever, ever forced to play a fighter. No one.

In every table I play (which is many), players play what they want. We don't tell anyone "you need to be the fighter" or "you need to be the Cleric because we don't have a healer" and I would walk away from any table that did. Part of player agency is being able to pick what you play REGARDLESS of party make up or what the other players want. In 1E clerics and Monks were really awful and after we figured that out no one played one .... ever again .... and we had a lot of fun. 5E Fighters are not nearly as deficient as those classes were, but even if they were, all it would mean is that people who did not want to play them would not play them, no one would be forced to play them.

I would estimate that over 70% of the people I have played with in the last 43 years are introverts and they generally do not want to be the center of attention all the time. The idea that everyone in a party actually wants to be a central or equal player in the game is very flawed. That may be true if you have a game full of extroverts, but that is very rare and when it is the case the easy fix is to pick a class so you won't be overshadowed. If you don't believe me look at ANY streaming game online. You will see a variety of players who are clearly not all contributing in equal amounts. Usually this has less to do with the classes than the players, but the point stands players contribute at different levels in game.

This brings the final point - being overshadowed in a bad way is always due to player behavior, not character abilities. The 6 Charisma Barbarian who walks into every role play moment and starts threatening people when literally everyone else at the table is mechanically better at this and others are trying to get in a word. That is what causes bad experiences, not the Wizard fireballing 10 Orcs when the fighter only got to kill one on his turn. When the Wizard throws a crowd pleaser the whole party including the lowly fighters cheer, they cheer when he casts knock, they cheer when he charms his way past a guard instead of letting the Paladin try to talk us past. They ask him to use Arcane Eye to scout the dungeon ahead of time instead of risking the Rogue scouting. The players want this even though it overshadows their own character abilities!
 
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There is two incompatible View here.

Those who want to play a fantasy role : The warrior, the magician, the explorer.

Those who want to play a game : Where all classes should be able to compete equally based on a fair rule set.

DnD can’t fulfil both view perfectly.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Not really. Thirty some classes each with three to five options for powers at every point. There was a huge variety between classes. Far more than in 5e. Far more variance.

The whole standardization thing is largely a myth.

What you did have, however was very clear math and clear guidelines. Plus massively simplified monsters compared to 5e.

It wasn’t the phb that made the math work. It was the monster manual.
And yet it felt extraordinarily standardized, across the board. That was 4e's real problem: it didn't feel right to enough players.
 


Pedantic

Legend
THIS!!!

Leave the fighter alone, make something new to compete with the wish spell. If you don't wany magic, make a class where a character can use his strength to pick up a castle and move it, or make a mean face and frighten people, or make his lungs are so powerful he can suck the air out of an entire room and suffocate enemies for AOE damage or who can run so fast he can time travel or travel to different planes or jump so far he could jump from one continent to another much as a Wizard can teleport. You would have your non-magic class that can compete with a Wizard. You would not need magic and would not screw up the current fighter.
To be perfectly clear, I am also suggesting that you should not print a class resembling the current Fighter, and that it's an actively bad thing that leads to a worse game to do so.

@EzekielRaiden and I disagree about a lot of things, but we're on the same page that all characters should be able to roughly equally contribute to most parts of the game.
I just don't understand why that can't be the Fighter. Why does the Fighter have to be relegated to Little League while everyone else gets to play pro?

What do you get from FORCING people to never get to participate in most of the game?
This is where we disagree. I think this is an intrinsic property of the archetype we're discussing, and thus it is unsuitable for high level play. Martials have the opposite of the caster problem. They get weaker the more generalized they are, and have more top end room for abilities as they get more specific. The Wizard would be better and more flavorful as a bunch of specific kinds of spellcaster because they would all have more specialized abilities that are more interesting to apply, the Fighter would be better as a bunch of specific martial classes because that could actually justify level appropriate abilities.

You could maybe kludge it together with a more player facing magic item system trailed specifically to solve the problem, but I think this exchange is a pretty clear case for my second point:
You're never going to break the people who define it by what it can't do, so it's better to start fresh with some new martial archetypes that no one is invested in complaining about when you let them do things.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
A lot of the changes to monsters were part of the "apology edition" approach, which is why they were such a mess, and why they've changed again more recently.

A significant element of 5E's launch design was to make an edition with some aesthetic elements resembling older editions, and they were willing to throw usability/function, flavour, and principles of good design out the window to get this aesthetic.

This is very clear from the monster designs, especially the godawful reversion to "simple stat block, but with like 14 spells the monster can cast". That's a huge loss of usability, because you have to look up and understand all those spells to use the monster fully, it's extremely hostile to new DMs (but so was a lot of 5E, surprisingly, it's amazing how well it's done despite that, not because of it), and in general flavourful abilities from 4E were replaced with bland spells.

Now with the newest monster book this has changed again, and design of monsters is more 4E-like, with fewer spells, more abilities and their use much better handled, and I think it's safe to expect the new MM to be like that also.
Yeah, it seems a lot of things they've changed recently, and are planning to change, and that a fair number of posters here seem to want, are moving the game to be more 4e-like.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Teams are not made of identical people: therefore, balance can only mean being identical and nothing else. What else was this supposed to mean?


Teammates in some card games can have different power: therefore, balance can only mean uniformity and nothing else. What else was this example supposed to mean?


Here you explicitly use the word "parity." What else could you mean here, other than that being balanced must mean being uniform and identical?

As for the rest of the points, player skill is a wholly separate consideration--and I absolutely, fundamentally disagree with your core assertion. No amount of player skill is going to let a Fighter player rewrite in-game reality. Unless you can show some other way for Fighter players to perform feats that affect the game world to a degree similar to casting wish? I would absolutely love to hear it--that would be a conclusive slam-dunk against casters being grossly overpowered!


And I'm saying it's both wrong-headed and actively bad for the game to outright punish players who like Fighters by enforcing that their characters MUST be weak, and likewise to reward players simply because they like playing Wizards.

Because that's what actually happens in practice. Repeatedly.
Unfortunately, even if you're right, it's apparently not bad enough for the game for it to be changed (outside the failed experiment of 4e) because that's how its been for a lot of folks here, the whole time.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Oh, I certainly agree that there's a serious conflict here between what people claim to want, and what their behavior reflects. It's extremely frustrating and I have yet to find an effective solution.


I agree. I just don't think that you have to print a class that can't compete in order to print a Fighter who doesn't (personally) use magic. I also don't think "uses a few, straightforward magic items" is any kind of stumbling block for such a character. Conan has his Atlantean sword; no one would accuse him of wielding magic as a result.


Unless you can actually explain why, I'm afraid I just don't see how that follows, to even the smallest degree.

Something can be popular and also be badly-made. Something can be unpopular (meaning, disliked) or simply not popular (neither liked nor disliked) yet also a brilliant design. The latter, while unfortunate, is not necessarily surprising. Surely the former should increase concern, not decrease it!
Sadly, once something is popular enough to make money hand over fist, concern over whether or not it's actually any good goes away as far as the people holding the purse strings are concerned.
 

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