Is Duellist style too good without feats.

Basically I asked this question in another thread but I thought it might get more answers in a thread of its own.

Basically as the title says.

If Great Weapon Master is allowed than Duelist style doesn't seem that great.

However, without that feat, Great Weapon Style possibly doesn't add enough extra damage to be worth the loss of 2 AC (Especially if you use a Great Axe).

There's also the fact that it seems the obvious choice for a sword and board fighter. Once you start getting multiple attacks, the extra damage is probably better than the +1 AC from Defensive Style, and it positively makes Protection Style look weak in comparison. It's also probably a much better pick than the early superiority dice you can get from the new class variants article (except perhap if you take that style as 1st level and are allowed to trade it out for duellist style when you get an extra attack. This also threatens to crowd out space for other potential future fighting styles.

So, l guess what I'm asking here is what should the baseline be?

One simple fix would be to just state that duelist style only works if you have one hand actually free, and therefore can't be used with a shield. In the absence of feats, this seems to balance out the fighting styles fairly well.

But it would be a straight nerf to sword and board fighters. So that's the question. Would taking duellist away from sword and board fighters weaken them too much? Do you feel that having that extra damage is important to the classes?
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
IIRC, GWM increases average damage for a 2d6 weapon by 1.33 points. Reducing Duelist to +1, but allowing it to work with a shield, is reasonable IMO.

Taking duelist away frmo S&B fighters limits them to either Defensive or Protective styles. Defensive is good and works well IMO, but Protective has always been lackluster.

All that being said, IME every table has used feats, and damage is the "cheapest" and most common boost, so the +2 of Duelist is good, but not over the top. I would find it more reasonable for you to reduce it to +1 damage but allow it with a shield, than require the second hand be empty.
 

dregntael

Explorer
In my house rules, I've gone the other way and buffed the GW and protection fighting styles to bring them in line with the other styles:
  • Great weapon fighting: When you deal damage with a heavy weapon, you roll an extra damage die and drop the lowest result.
  • Protection: While you are holding a shield, all allies within 5 feet of you gain half cover against attacks from enemies you can see.
So for GWF, greataxe becomes 2d12 drop lowest, and greatsword becomes 3d6 drop lowest. I like this solution because it brings both weapons to the same average damage (8.46 for greatsword and 8.49 for greataxe). To balance things out in combination with feats, I've also limited the +10 damage from GWF and SS to be usable only once per turn.

The main change to protection is to make it work passively like all other fighting styles, but then giving disadvantage felt too strong so I changed it to half cover.
 
I think duelist is fine. If we're using the standard conversion math it would be archery style that's the biggest deal wouldn't it? Even without accompanying feats. Setting that aside though, yeah, duelist is better than GW style. I would also prefer the +1 may use with shield option, although you could combine two by just leaving the damage at+2 with no shield, and dropping it to +1 with shield in hand, covering both your bases.
 

Minigiant

Adventurer
Well, GWF is really for the greatsword, double scimitar, crits, and bonus dice. You get 1.0-1.33 damage bonus.

The S&B duelist warrior get +2 damage and AC.
The GW GWF warrior gets 1.0-1.33 damage depending on weapon, scales better with more die, and an optional feat to further boost damage.

Seems mostly fair.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
In my house rules, I've gone the other way and buffed the GW and protection fighting styles to bring them in line with the other styles:
  • Great weapon fighting: When you deal damage with a heavy weapon, you roll an extra damage die and drop the lowest result.
  • Protection: While you are holding a shield, all allies within 5 feet of you gain half cover against attacks from enemies you can see.
So for GWF, greataxe becomes 2d12 drop lowest, and greatsword becomes 3d6 drop lowest. I like this solution because it brings both weapons to the same average damage (8.46 for greatsword and 8.49 for greataxe). To balance things out in combination with feats, I've also limited the +10 damage from GWF and SS to be usable only once per turn.

The main change to protection is to make it work passively like all other fighting styles, but then giving disadvantage felt too strong so I changed it to half cover.
I really like these changes, although I think I would apply GWF to any two-handed weapon, or a versatile weapon wielding in 2 hands. Archers would still prefer archery fighting style, but it gives the 2h fighter a bonus when they pull out a bow.
 

Esker

Abventuree
If you don't let duelist work with a shield then it becomes strictly for DEX rapier builds, since for a STR build it would be strictly worse than using a two-handed weapon.
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
They're all close enough to be fine.

Protection is highly underrated. It is much more powerful in a game where the DM has the monsters attack the weaker characters.
That's why you replace it with the much more superior Interception Style from UA.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
They're all close enough to be fine.

Protection is highly underrated. It is much more powerful in a game where the DM has the monsters attack the weaker characters.
You're absolutely right. Most low AC characters in my games cringe when there is no protection style combattant. If there is one, they stick as much as possible to the character. Imposing disadvantage can be really big, especialy if a bard used Vicious Mockery. On a creature attacking twice, that can mean two attacks made with disadvantage.
 

dnd4vr

Keeper of the Seven Keys
On a creature attacking twice, that can mean two attacks made with disadvantage.
Actually, protection style uses the character's reaction and applies only to that attack. So, it can only be used by a character once per round on one attack.

My bad, missed the Vicious Mockery aspect. NP.
 

Esker

Abventuree
You're absolutely right. Most low AC characters in my games cringe when there is no protection style combattant. If there is one, they stick as much as possible to the character. Imposing disadvantage can be really big, especialy if a bard used Vicious Mockery. On a creature attacking twice, that can mean two attacks made with disadvantage.
It's just fine at low levels; the problem is the scaling. When monster DPR scales primarily through the number of attacks they make rather than the damage per hit you're stuck preventing about the same amount of damage against multiattack monsters as you prevent against single attack monsters earlier on. Same issue with Vicious Mockery, which starts out great but gets crappy at higher levels. You are also likely to have more competition for your reaction as you go up in level, making it harder to use your fighting style at all. The passive styles (dueling, GWF, archery, and defense) just give you a benefit, without blocking you from doing other things you might start to be capable of doing (the TWF style has the same problem re: bonus actions).
 

Esker

Abventuree
Actually, protection styles uses the character's reaction and applies only to that attack. So, it can only be used by a character once per round on one attack.
I think @Helldritch was saying you'd have two attacks with disadvantage when you combine Vicious Mockery and Protection style. VM can only apply to the first attack, but protection can apply to whichever you choose. Which is true, but an action and a reaction to achieve that is a steep price.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
It's just fine at low levels; the problem is the scaling. When monster DPR scales primarily through the number of attacks they make rather than the damage per hit you're stuck preventing about the same amount of damage against multiattack monsters as you prevent against single attack monsters earlier on. Same issue with Vicious Mockery, which starts out great but gets crappy at higher levels. You are also likely to have more competition for your reaction as you go up in level, making it harder to use your fighting style at all. The passive styles (dueling, GWF, archery, and defense) just give you a benefit, without blocking you from doing other things you might start to be capable of doing (the TWF style has the same problem re: bonus actions).
I don't see the difference between low and high level.

At low levels we have goblins and orcs of which there are many making minor attacks. We also have creatures like ogres making fewer big attacks.

At higher levels we see the same thing. Some creatures have many small attacks, some have few big attacks.

Protection is better against the big attacks.

Vicious Mockery's ability remains good at higher levels. It's just that the damage doesn't scale well.

Unless a specific subclass has a reaction ability I don't see the 'competition' as the character goes up in levels.

Defense is the worst fighting style. It makes a character with high AC have higher AC. They're probably going to be the last character standing already so it really is of little benefit. This is especially true if the character also has a shield.

That leaves Dueling vs Protection. This comes down to character personality. Is the character all about attacking or defending their allies? Either are fine choices.
 
Protection is highly underrated. It is much more powerful in a game where the DM has the monsters attack the weaker characters.
I think this is the problem with the fighting style: it's DM dependent. I played a paladin with it, and the DM would simply always attack me if the fighting style was applicable. If I was standing next to "squishy" characters I wouldn't have minded, but normally I was on the front line with another high AC character, making my ability nothing more than a target on my back.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I think this is the problem with the fighting style: it's DM dependent. I played a paladin with it, and the DM would simply always attack me if the fighting style was applicable. If I was standing next to "squishy" characters I wouldn't have minded, but normally I was on the front line with another high AC character, making my ability nothing more than a target on my back.
I suppose this is where I might have a disconnect from others.

D&D fights are skirmishes with very few combatants on the PC's side. I don't think 'front lines' exist.

It is very easy for enemy creatures to move around and attack the PCs they want to attack a lot of the time.

Ideally with Protection you do want the enemy creatures to attack you, the character with the high AC. You just want to be near allies who have low AC to be protecting them.

If I was a Wizard in that game I would be sticking close to you for that Protection. There are only so many times they can cast Shield.
 
I suppose this is where I might have a disconnect from others.

D&D fights are skirmishes with very few combatants on the PC's side. I don't think 'front lines' exist.
Again, something that's DM dependent. This particular campaign had us dungeon crawling for much of it. In a dungeon crawl, hallways and doorways create natural choke points that can advantage one side over the other. The few times we were outdoors was against 1-2 large/huge creatures, so while a front line didn't exist, it was fairly easy to simply engage the enemy away from the ranged PCs.

In addition, this guy was a massive meta-DM who looked to find ways to minimize/negate player abilities (so it wasn't just me). On the other hand, when I DM the monsters attack based on the intelligence of the creature and the situation at hand. One player had both the protection fighting style and the Sentinel feat, and she got a lot of benefit from both. This shows it goes back to my original statement that it's very DM dependent, and many players are wary of such abilities unless they already know how the DM intends to use them.
 

Esker

Abventuree
Again, something that's DM dependent. This particular campaign had us dungeon crawling for much of it. In a dungeon crawl, hallways and doorways create natural choke points that can advantage one side over the other. The few times we were outdoors was against 1-2 large/huge creatures, so while a front line didn't exist, it was fairly easy to simply engage the enemy away from the ranged PCs.

In addition, this guy was a massive meta-DM who looked to find ways to minimize/negate player abilities (so it wasn't just me). On the other hand, when I DM the monsters attack based on the intelligence of the creature and the situation at hand. One player had both the protection fighting style and the Sentinel feat, and she got a lot of benefit from both. This shows it goes back to my original statement that it's very DM dependent, and many players are wary of such abilities unless they already know how the DM intends to use them.
But I would see it as a good thing if, as a result of you having protection style, the monster attacked you instead of attacking the person next to you. Very likely as a martial character with a shield you have higher AC than they do; maybe much higher (probably higher HP too, making you better able to withstand a hit if they don't miss). It might even be the case that getting them to switch their attack to you is more likely to turn a hit into a miss than imposing disadvantage on your ally; plus you still have your reaction available!

In other words, if the DM plays that way, they're making your choice more effective at allowing you to fulfill your 'tank' role.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
To OP and most of the other posters : GWM and SS are NOT the uber feats because CONTEXT and you deal no damage if you MISS.

Duelist is a strong thing, especially if combined with a shield. Is it overpowered? No, many things are strong in 5e, sneak attacks, smiting, sorcs and warlocks going nova, cleric with spirit guardians up etc etc.

You can doe loads of heavy hitting builds in 5e without to much system mastery.
There ill always be one monster which gets you into trouble:
e.g
  • high AC cancels SS and GWM
  • high HP cancels out severe base damage aka duelist
  • casting cancels out melee
  • very heavy hitting mobs can nullify casters and low AC squishies
  • flying mobs vs melee experts
  • invisible mobs sneaking up on archers and other ranged etc etc etc.

I hope you see the point.
 
I feel like protection style is largely abandoned.

The thinking seems to be now that if you want to play a Defender you do it by Subclass, (Cavalier or Ancestral Guardian) or you take the Sentinel Feat if play with feats.

Edit The interception style seems a direct replacment for Protection also (although it still competes with Duellist and doesn't scale).
 
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