D&D General Is the "Heavy Hitter" archetype power-gaming?

James Gasik

Well, I think I can understand the issue. Let's compare a 2handed Fighter to the other options. Weapon/Shield? Lackluster, as you don't do a lot of damage, and if your AC gets too high, enemies ignore you and go after the real threats. Two Weapon Fighting? Really bad in 3.5, no doubt as a reaction to how dominating it was in 2e. Between the insane Dex requirements and multiple Feats devoted to it to potentially it's damage up to where a Two Weapon Fighter was, without Power Attack or a penalty to hit. And really, who cares about extra attacks at your -10 iterative?

Archery is pretty bad too, as it's hard to buff your damage, it's also feat dependent, and it can be defeated trivially. So your best options are big weapon or spiked chain (which is super effective except when it's not), to the point I can totally understand why someone might think there's something wrong here!

This continues in 5e, sadly. Two Weapon Fighting is a joke at higher levels, weapon/shield is just weaker than, say, archery, and Great Weapon Fighting can deal some hellacious damage if you can get advantage.

Well, archery gets the same deal with Sharpshooter, and using either a ranged weapon or a polearm can net you a bonus action attack. So yeah, ranged combat is better in 5e, and polearms actually edge out past greatswords. But the classic "sword and shield" is woefully undersupported, which may irritate some people.

It irks me, because shields are way cooler in real life than they have ever been in D&D.

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BTW. @Greenfield, I think you've miscalculated the damage in your example in the OP. I'm pretty sure (haven't looked at 3.5 in a loooonnnnnggg time) that the power attack bonus for a 2-h weapon is 3x the attack penalty. I only mention because I hate for your player to miss out on some good damage.
That's one of the differences between 3.5e and PF1. In 3.5e, Power Attack is -X to hit/+X to damage, increasing to +2X for two-handed weapons, and not working at all for off-hand or light weapon attacks, and X can be any number up to your BAB. In PF1, the default is -X to hit/+2X to damage, going down to +X for light and up to +3X for two-handed attacks, and X is always 1+(BAB/4).

No. Power gaming in 3.5 is CoDzilla or a conjuration specialist wizard/incantatrix. Rolling up a fighter is like the opposite of that. Even the best fighter options, dungeon crasher and Zhent soldier, aren't power gaming. But for kicks, next character roll up a Frenzied Berserker. Oh and take the barbarian option that trades fast movement for pounce.

James Gasik

You can powergame as a 3.5 Fighter, but anything you do can be countered with ease with the right enemies. I think the most insane shenanigans I ever saw used Karmic Strike, Robilar's Gambit, and Double Strike so that anyone having the nerve to attack you in melee provokes an opportunity attack and gets hit back twice upside the head for their trouble. And that still pales compared to the sorts of things one can get up to with magic.

So I think for a definition of powergaming, we have to go with "outstrips the other player characters and hogs more of the spotlight in encounters", which can be done trivially depending on how optimized one's group is.

If one guy is playing a sword and shield Human Fighter with a 16 Intelligence (because that suits the character) and another guy is playing a multiclassed Half-Orc Barbarian/Cleric who can cast Bull's Strength on themselves and uses a Greataxe, even though that really doesn't meet the metric for "powergaming" in aggregate*, it can be a downright menace at the table when the Half-Orc goes all out and grants themselves a Strength of 30 at level 4 (32 if they have Strength Domain and the time to Enlarge themselves as well).

Those resources might be better used on the Fighter in most cases, due to action economy, but if you have time to cast a spell or two before combat, you can get away with it, so it really depends on encounter design and how lenient your DM is.

3.5 wasn't designed with inter-party balance in mind, because that was a new concept; AD&D didn't really balance characters against each other in any meaningful way. Sure, your Thief might get a few extra levels over your Fighter, but they were never going to be equal to the Fighter in combat, so all they really got was out of combat utility which can't even be measured on the same metric.

*not compared to Warshapers, Weretouched Masters, Incantatrixes, Planar Shepherds and really, anyone who wanted to warp the game out of shape with abuse of Divine Metamagic, "free" Metamagic, caster level boosts, Embrace/Reject the Dark Chaos loops, or any other "theoretical optimization" tricks that could only function in a white room with the DM asleep at the wheel.

Or purely core stunts like scry-n-die or making simulacrums of efreeti for infinite Wishes, that require the DM to put their foot down, or assume NPC's discovered these tricks first, and were better at it than the PC's.

Ouch, played one of those to 15th level. Broken beyond recognition.

Summon monster + metamagic effect(persistent spell), just find/buy/craft +5 spellcraft item(+10 if you can) and go with your own party of summons.
Add in the Easy Metamagic feat from dungeon magazine and sprinkle with the Abrupt Jaunt immediate magic ability. Ahhhhh, good times!

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