D&D 5E Martials should just get free feats

ECMO3

Hero
Fighters, Barbarians, and Rogues are really the classes that most could use an Epic Destiny at levels beyond 10, imbuing them with powers beyond those of mortal men. Like finding out you're the son of a God, or being given a divine boon, or just finding out there's a Prophecy with your name on it.

Of course, having said that, I'm sure someone will say "but that doesn't match my fiction of what a Fighter should be", as if there's nothing particularly special about the ginormous and often fantastic foes they face at higher levels that would require one to transcend mortal limits.

I just think if those three classes get it then all classes should get it.
 

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ECMO3

Hero
Outside combat they are the lowest common denominator commoner class, with the fewest skills in the game, armour getting in the way, and no abilities that help them do anything that a commoner with no additional class features can't.
I do believe some people may not like this, and those people are probably right in their choice not play fighters because of it, but I also believe there are many players that like the class specifically BECAUSE of this.

In combat they are boring, playing patty-cake with the enemy until someone's hit points run out rather than actually doing interesting things round understanding and meaningfully changing the combat. (This is as much a problem with the 5e hit point escalation as anything)

In general disagree with this completely. They are one of the weaker classes in combat, but hardly boring. They are in fact one of the most exciting for me to play, after the Rogue.

How the DM runs a game can be a big incluence on this though. I have played with DMs that get angry when a player trys anything other than hit him with my stick or cast my spell at him and if that is your DM then it is not as fun.

I know several people, myself included who consider the average 5e fighter to be an NPC snoozefest of a class but love fighters who actually get options, whether it's 4e style tactical fighters, echo knights, or other larger than life types. You are literally the only person I have ever seen anything from who likes 5e's weak and generally boring fighters.
I am not the only person who likes fighters and they score at the top or near the top of every single poll.

If we are using popularity as a metric fighters are one of the last classes we need to "fix"

I know many, many players who have had fun playing fighters. In the 30+ groups I have played with in the past 4 years, including both as a DM and a player, fighters are played FAR more often than any single pfull casting class except possibly Clerics (and I think they are ahead fo Clerics). I would also say they are played more often than Paladins or Rangers.

Now that is dozens of fighter characters played or played with, and those are anecdotes specific to my experiences, but the players at your table that consider it 5E snoozefest but love 4E fighters are anecdotes as well.

So could you explain what you like so much about the spamtastic 4e fighter that has no more out of combat agency than a commoner please? Because I have literally never met anyone who had this attitude.

I hate the 4e fighter because in the attempt to "balance" it with the other classes they gave it daily powers, encounter powers etc that are rougly on par with spells and detract from the fantasy surrounding the class.

I also hate that other classes can't come close to it in combat without using their powers or spells.

Also your class is far more important than your race. Why should your race let you shatter the laws of physics and your class not unless you use spells?

Because races already shatter the laws of nature with their very existence.
 
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For some maybe, but not for others. I've never felt bored playing a fighter partially because there is so much you can do with your action aside from those buttons.

I guess for some it could be limited, but maybe then that is not the best class for them?
Meanwhile as a fighter you are more powerful than almost anyone else with your fighting actions, in specific the attack action, while actively slightly less powerful than other classes when you try and freestyle. The fighter is literally the class that discourages doing things other than pressing standard buttons in combat the most.
 

I just think if those three classes get it then all classes should get it.
They can get it - with the assumption that the default choice is that they get to cast higher level spells. As the wizard levels up from levels 12 to 19 they get seventh, eighth, and ninth level spells that enable them to do things they couldn't do before. Meanwhile what new abilities does the fighter get between level 12 and level 19 that they couldn't take earlier? Oh that's right? Literally nothing. The fighter is, as mentioned, a barren wasteland after level 11.

The wizard should get such options - but their default option should be the ability to cast sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth level spells and they can have an alternative to that - or the warlock can take an alternative to Mystic Arcanum. Meanwhile the fighter gets a new thing rather than an alternative because they are so devoid of new stuff and the barbarian is little better.
I am not the only person who likes fighters and they score at the top or near the top of every single poll.
The archetype is great. The class itself? As I've mentioned is fairly solid up to level 8. I've suggested only a minor tweak before level 8 so they actively learn more skills. The problem is that the fighter is devoid of content or ability to keep up after level 11. And 90% of games finish by level 10.

I, and many others, would prefer a tactical fighter rather than the spamtastic fighter we currently have that is the single class that gives up the most in combat when they take an action other than Attack - and would rather than the simple melee hitty class be the barbarian rather than that we get two simple hitters and no actual master of combat using their knowledge of the blade and of combat.
I hate the 4e fighter because in the attempt to "balance" it with the other classes they gave it daily powers, encounter powers etc that are rougly on par with spells and detract from the fantasy surrounding the class.
Meanwhile the fighter actually adapting their fighting to what the enemies do, and having a collection of tricks and using the battlefield makes the 4e fighter literally the only fighter in any version of D&D that came close to, to me, fulfilling the fantasy of the fighter. The second best version of the fighter I've had came from the Book of Nine Swords and wasn't the warblade but the crusader who also really had to adapt to the environment because the abilities they got each turn were semi-random.

And I'm confused. You think that having actual literal spells is not a problem but having abilities roughly on par with them is for the fantasy?
I also hate that other classes can't come close to it in combat without using their powers or spells.
???

What in the name of the little black pig do you think the fighter should be good at? Because apparently the class called the fighter isn't allowed to be the best at fighting without spells? Meanwhile the wizard is allowed to be the best at spellcasting?
Because races already shatter the laws of nature with their very existence.
So do hit points.

When I read what you seem to want out of a fighter - the non-magical overmatched character that holds their own through skill and expertise I do not see a fighter. I see a rogue. Definitely skilled with weapons - and more skilled than others at exploiting advantages (for one they have better skills and for another Cunning Action) while having no actual magic.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
For some maybe, but not for others. I've never felt bored playing a fighter partially because there is so much you can do with your action aside from those buttons.

I guess for some it could be limited, but maybe then that is not the best class for them?
You have, again, resorted to an argument that boils down to "I don't have a problem, so there isn't anything to have a problem about. If you're still upset, that's your fault for thinking you like Fighters when you don't." It is, quite literally, "Because ECMO3 does not have a problem with it, you shouldn't either, or you should play something else instead." Your experience does not invalidate the experience of others, and is not a reason why things cannot change. It is, at best, a reason why any changes should be well-justified and relatively cautious, not upending the whole world, but targeted. Feats, by their nature in 5e being pretty limited (from what I can tell, there aren't even 100 feats in official 5e.)

Many, many players love the concept of the Fighter. It's pretty much the "everyman" class, and often the one most similar to the "main character" of a story--of course it will be beloved. But the concept of the class is not axiomatically identical to the mechanical expression of that class. Why should folks who adore the concept, but cannot stand the mechanical expression, heed your "it's not for you, play something else" question? Especially when 5e explicitly said the Fighter was supposed to be a big tent, welcoming in a variety of preferences (it was supposed to absorb the 4e Warlord, explicitly by designer intent, for example.)
 

It's pretty much the "everyman" class, and often the one most similar to the "main character" of a story--of course it will be beloved.
I'd have said this was split between fighter and rogue depending whether the character is intended to take the foes on head on (as the fighter fails to do at higher levels) or win through trickery and guile - and the rogue is of course the second most popular.

And the "in over my head everyman but with magic" everyman is the third most popular class; the warlock.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Meanwhile as a fighter you are more powerful than almost anyone else with your fighting actions, in specific the attack action, while actively slightly less powerful than other classes when you try and freestyle. The fighter is literally the class that discourages doing things other than pressing standard buttons in combat the most.
This is generally not true because the opportunity cost to freestyle is higher for other classes as they have things that are a lot more powerful than just attacking.

If you are considering subclasses this can be true, particularly in a campaing with a lot of short rests and Fighter subclass abilities that recharge on a short rest, but if you are looking at just class abilities the fighters mechanics are far less capable than other classes in combat. Their attack action is better but that is not powerful compared to spells.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
You have, again, resorted to an argument that boils down to "I don't have a problem, so there isn't anything to have a problem about.

Everyone else here is arguing "I have a problem so there is something we need to fix"

Your personal examples are as anecdotal as mine.

I have also consistently said on this thread that I would be ok with buffing fighters as long as every single class got those buffs. Buffing the fighter would not be a problem for me, buffing ONLY the fighter would be a problem. Buffing only a fighter is real problem for me and if you disagree then "if you don't have a problem, there isn't anything to have a problem about"

It would be a "problem" for me if they didn't buff other classes to keep up. Does that mean we need to give every other class extra feats as we give the fighter them because it would be a problem for me if we didn't. Is it ok for you to say you disagree with that "fix" and say every other class should not be buffed because it is not a fix you would like to see or are the problems only real if they are your problems?

fMany, many players love the concept of the Fighter. It's pretty much the "everyman" class, and often the one most similar to the "main character" of a story--of course it will be beloved. But the concept of the class is not axiomatically identical to the mechanical expression of that class. Why should folks who adore the concept, but cannot stand the mechanical expression, heed your "it's not for you, play something else" question? Especially when 5e explicitly said the Fighter was supposed to be a big tent, welcoming in a variety of preferences (it was supposed to absorb the 4e Warlord, explicitly by designer intent, for example.)

Many, many, many fighters love the concept AND the mechanics of the current fighter and many do not want anything like a Warlord in 5E.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
the fighters mechanics are far less capable than other classes in combat.
So you admit it: the Fighter is, in fact, weaker than most other classes.

But buffing it (and other classes strongly similar to it) is not okay.

I think we're done here. You have all but explicitly said, "The Fighter is no better than anyone else at its specialization, while others can be better at its specialization, or get most of what it does while also doing a whole bunch of other things." And from this, the one and only so-called solution you will accept is to give all classes 100% identical benefits with no variation.

Why? You have already recognized the Fighter—and by extension, the extremely similar Barbarian, Monk, and Rogue—are weak because they critically depend on the Attack action. You have already agreed that spells are simply, objectively a more powerful tool to have, full stop. Why, then, is the one and only valid "solution" to buff everyone equally, so Wizards remain exactly as far ahead of Fighters as they were before? How is that even remotely a compromise?
 

ECMO3

Hero
So you admit it: the Fighter is, in fact, weaker than most other classes.

I have said that many times on this thread.

But buffing it (and other classes strongly similar to it) is not okay.

Not unless you buff other classes too. For example, if you give the fighter 3 more feats, the wizard, the bard, the cleric, the Barbarian should all get 3 more feats IMO.

If you give the fighter the ability to use a bonus action to cause a bleeding wound if they hit with a piercing weapon then you should give all classes that ability.

The fighter is still getting the buffs you want if you do this, you just are not leaving other classes behind.

You have all but explicitly said, "The Fighter is no better than anyone else at its specialization, while others can be better at its specialization, or get most of what it does while also doing a whole bunch of other things."

I have actually said it explicitly, back on page 6:

"There is no real comparison. A Wizard is more capable than a fighter IMO because of limited resources. That is how it is, but that is not a reason to give a fighter more feats."

And from this, the one and only so-called solution you will accept is to give all classes 100% identical benefits with no variation.
Not the only solution, but the only solution that involves handing out more combat buffs yes. IMO you should buff them all if you need to buff the fighter.

I have said I would like to see a couple changes to the fighter not related to combat performance:

1. Proficiency in ALL weapons - Catapults, ballista, firearms, laser weapons, the Koa-toa weapons that grapple opponents .....

2. Advantage on any Wisdom or Intelligence skill checks to understand weapons or armor.

3. Fighters bypass all class and race restrictions for magic armor and magic weapons

I would like to see these things added to the Fighter and only the Fighter.
Why? You have already recognized the Fighter—and by extension, the extremely similar Barbarian, Monk, and Rogue—are weak because they critically depend on the Attack action. You have already agreed that spells are simply, objectively a more powerful tool to have, full stop. Why, then, is the one and only valid "solution" to buff everyone equally, so Wizards remain exactly as far ahead of Fighters as they were before? How is that even remotely a compromise?

So that other classes, Wizard, Bard, Warlock and Cleric specifically, don't fall further behind in combat with weapons. Any game that puts those classes way behind a fighter, even when they are built for that role, is a problem for me and will be for a lot of players I think.

When I can't do decent melee damage with my Bladesinger becasue I chose the Wizard class, that is a problem. Being a little behind like it is currently now is ok, being way behind is not ok.

If power is a problem and you want to give something to the fighter and only the fighter to balance it with casters, then give them spells with full caster full spell progression. I would have little problem with that, but I am not for giving them extraordinary martial powers no one else gets above and beyond what they currently have (which is already more than anyone else gets). Doing that would make the game less fun for me and I think it would make the game less fun for a lot of others.

Take the current fighter chassis, add one known spell per level with slots equal to a full caster of the same level. No Arcane recovery, no sorcery points, no channel divinity, no preparing spells, no ritual casting, no cantrips. If you did that the classes would be pretty darn equal I think without having to resort to crazy martial buffs. Further as a build choice a fighter could boost the casting stat (I would recommend Charisma or Intelligence) to be near equal to a caster in terms of magic in the same fashion a caster can boost strength or dex and use subclasses, feats and spells to be near equal to a fighter in melee.

Why is that not an acceptable compromise? If the argument is Fighters are so behind casters because casters have spells and that is not fair then just give fighters the spells!
 
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Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
In all fairness, ECMO3 has made their position incredibly clear. Fighter types (Including Rogue, Barbarian and Monk in there) should be weaker than spellcasters, who should be able to roughly approximate the combat abilities of those classes if they chose to go that route. I think that's silly for a class based system, but that is what it is.
 

For some maybe, but not for others. I've never felt bored playing a fighter partially because there is so much you can do with your action aside from those buttons.
Could you give us some recent examples? I'm always on the lookout for new things to try that will make my DM wince as she tries to adjudicate them.

I hate the 4e fighter because in the attempt to "balance" it with the other classes they gave it daily powers, encounter powers etc that are rougly on par with spells and detract from the fantasy surrounding the class.
What made you feel that? To me, the 4e fighter powers fit the "master of tactical and martial combat" fantasy extremely well.

I also hate that other classes can't come close to it in combat without using their powers or spells.
Why without using their powers or spells? Surely powers and spells are an inherent part of a class and so should be taken into account when comparing performance.
For example the bladesinger's power that lets it cast a cantrip spell alongside an attack is what lets it keep close or exceed fighter extra attack damage, but is also more thematic for the bladesinger than just giving them the same extra attack progression of the fighter.

Because races already shatter the laws of nature with their very existence.
Why not classes as well?
 

ECMO3

Hero
In all fairness, ECMO3 has made their position incredibly clear. Fighter types (Including Rogue, Barbarian and Monk in there) should be weaker than spellcasters, who should be able to roughly approximate the combat abilities of those classes if they chose to go that route. I think that's silly for a class based system, but that is what it is.
My only caveat to that is I would add "without spells" they should be weaker.

It is not that I want them weaker, I don't want them having extraordinary martial powers other classes don't get. If you are willing to give them spells I have no problem with them being just as strong or even stronger than spellcasters and that would truely balance the classes a lot better than giving them more martial powers would.

If it is balance you are really after, that is the best way to do it.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
My only caveat to that is I would add "without spells" they should be weaker.

It is not that I want them weaker, I don't want them having extraordinary martial powers other classes don't get. If you are willing to give them spells I have no problem with them being just as strong or even stronger than spellcasters and that would truely balance the classes a lot better than giving them more martial powers would.

If it is balance you are really after, that is the best way to do it.
No, that's not the best was—that is exactly the wrong way.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Instead of giving them a free Great Weapon Master feat, Fighters can get:

Power Attack​

Evocation cantrip
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: 5 feet
  • Components: S M (A melee weapon with the heavy property)
  • Duration: Instantaneous
You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. You take a -5 penalty to hit for this attack, and on a hit the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects, plus 10 damage of the same type as the weapon. If the weapon used has the reach property, you can cast it at a creature within 10 feet of you.
And with their extra attacks they can get something similar to the Bladesinger feature to swap attacks for cantrips so they can spam that.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Could you give us some recent examples? I'm always on the lookout for new things to try that will make my DM wince as she tries to adjudicate them.

Examples from actual play:

1. Tearing a tapestry off of a wall and throwing it over a medusa's head, then grappling her to eliminate her gaze attack. (successful)

2. When characters who tethered together already becuase they were on a slippery sloped corridor were attacked my character (a Goblin) ran under a large monster with the rope, then tripped him. (successful)

3. Kender Misty jumped on to a dragonnel that was trying to escape (partially successful, the Dragonnel did ot escape, but I plummeted and went unconscious when he died)

4. Running up the back of horses pulling a wagon and leaping through the air to grab on to a flying Cambion who was trying to steal a shield we had (unsuccessful)

5. Using Intimidate to call on enemies to surrender (used many times, successful sometimes, unsuccessful sometimes).

6. Using the help action so a Sprite familiar shooting arrows tipped with purple worm poison (in addition to her own poision) would have advantage on the attack. (successful)

7. Grappling enemies then moving them up to be attacked by allies who did not want to get hit, then moving them away. (successful)

8. Disarming an enemy of his legendary elemental weapon and then throwing it into a portal to close it. (successful)

9. Grappling two enemies then dodging on sucessive turns, giving them pretty cpermanent disadvantage on all their attacks. (done many times, usually sucessful).

Any player with good abilities can try these things, but the opportunity cost for doing them with a spell caster is generally very high. Figters and Rogues are ideal for these sorts of things do to the ability to have a high Strength and Dexterity without having to worry about a casting stat. IME you can also run a 10 or 12 Constitution on a fighter and invest in Charisma too, but I know most here will disagree with that, and not running a high constitution does necessitate a certain play style.


What made you feel that? To me, the 4e fighter powers fit the "master of tactical and martial combat" fantasy extremely well.

I hated three things about this:

First that not all classes could do them. You are talking about fighting with weapons, I get that people that train should be a little better, but not that much better.

Second it doesn't make much sense. I can take a rifle out to the range tomorrow and shoot all day long and it is not like I can say - Oh I am going to use my once a day expert shot now. I will be shooting pretty much the same at the end as at the begining

Third supernatural things like lightning bolt were about the same damage as their equivalent fighter powers. It shouldn't be, it should be a lot more.

I know people on this forum like 4E design, but I don't think that is a commonly held opinion.


Why without using their powers or spells? Surely powers and spells are an inherent part of a class and so should be taken into account when comparing performance.

Because the fighter can do it without using powers or spells. Spells are absolutly a part of performance and that is WHY casters SHOULD be more powerful than classes without spells.

If you don't like this then just give the fighter spells so they can keep up. That would be better than letting them just flat outclass every other class.


For example the bladesinger's power that lets it cast a cantrip spell alongside an attack is what lets it keep close or exceed fighter extra attack damage, but is also more thematic for the bladesinger than just giving them the same extra attack progression of the fighter.

They can't generally exceed the fighter's damage considering the larger number of attacks, fighting style and the extra ASI in the class. They can keep it close, especially if the fighter is not optimized for damage.

I am fine with the bladesinger, my point is I want to keep it close and if you make a mechanic that adds another 20 or so DPR to a fighter they won't be.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Instead of giving them a free Great Weapon Master feat, Fighters can get:

And with their extra attacks they can get something similar to the Bladesinger feature to swap attacks for cantrips so they can spam that.

I would be ok with that. I am not sure if you are saying it should be a feat any class can get (in which case it is pretty weak) or if it should be a cantrip all fighters get automatically or a fighting style unique to fighters?
 
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ECMO3

Hero
No, that's not the best was—that is exactly the wrong way.
It is the most balanced way certainly. If you want the most "balance" possible this is the way to achieve that most effectively. It is the "best" in that regard.

You can call it "wrong" but I call the whole idea that classes need to be balanced "wrong" to start with.
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
My only caveat to that is I would add "without spells" they should be weaker.

It is not that I want them weaker, I don't want them having extraordinary martial powers other classes don't get. If you are willing to give them spells I have no problem with them being just as strong or even stronger than spellcasters and that would truely balance the classes a lot better than giving them more martial powers would.

If it is balance you are really after, that is the best way to do it.
First, thank you for clarifying the part that I missed.

Secondly, while you do have a bit of point, namely that symmetrical balance is the easiest and more thorough way of achieving balance, it doesn't work well in a class based system because most people generally don't want a bunch of character classes that are mechanically identical. That was one of the complaints I saw about 4e in fact, regardless of whether one agrees with that take or not. So, I think most people want classes with different capabilities.

Which of course, makes balance a bit trickier. Asymmetrical balance generally is. However, I don't think that we should throw up our hands and just give up trying though.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
My only caveat to that is I would add "without spells" they should be weaker.

It is not that I want them weaker, I don't want them having extraordinary martial powers other classes don't get.
may i ask why you fundamentally think that the fighter, the iconic champion of martial combat, should not have exclusive martial abilities that surpass the capabilities of other classes? the wizard has high level magics only they can use so why isn't the fighter allowed the same grace in their own area of expertise?, everybody has their own niche, the thing only they can do or excel at beyond everyone else and that's just balance in another form.
 

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