D&D 5E Martials should just get free feats

Bluenose

Adventurer
this game was practically built on having classes that had exclusive things and roles that they could do better than everyone else, it's why you built a team with those characters so they support where each other lacks.
you have a fighter because the wizard can't take hits or wield the good weapons, you have a cleric because the fighter can't heal or turn undead, you have a rogue because the cleric can't stealthily scout ahead or deal with locks and traps, you have a wizard because the rogue can't magic missile the intangible ghost or cast fly over the lava lake that ignites all your rope from the heat.
And then you have classes that pretty much can do all those things, and hey it turns out they're all spellcasters. Or at least in 5e had to take a background which gave them the skill which made that unique ability into something literally anyone could take. 5e Cleric with the Trickery domain, Street Urchin background, dex-based weapons can pretty much laugh at the Rogue being able to do things they can't.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
So 4e's development team decided to do away with bespoke attack bonuses; everyone has the same basic chance to "hit" with their attacks, but it flew under the radar a little because Fighters attacked with weapons, and Wizards attacked with spells- there wasn't much benefit for a Wizard to give themselves a high Strength or Dexterity so they could swing a weapon; instead they used implements and their Intelligence to use their powers.

With 5e, they continued this trend but made a tragic mistake I think by going back to how classes use ability scores. Instead of a Wizard wanting Intelligence instead of Dexterity, now they wanted both. Which means that a 1st-level Wizard might want a 16 Dex and a 16 Int, say. Which gives them a choice; 1d10 firebolt vs. 1d8+3 crossbow.

But then things get more muddled should a Wizard gain any proficiencies- one can give up a single level of Wizard to have Medium Armor and Rapiers, if you wanted. Hit points seem a bit light for melee, but you can now do it. Not to mentione he has the incredible free healing of Second Wind so that if he's ever seriously hurt, a few hours of rest should bounce him right back up, no spell slots or hit dice expended! Or maybe you start as a Fighter and go Strength/Intelligence, now you can have plate and a polearm for attacking from the back row! Or pick up Warcaster and now you're a plate/shield guy with top tier AC and spells! Heck, dip Cleric instead, and you don't even lose spell slot progression and get a few decent priestly spells like Healing Word!

Meanwhile, the reverse isn't quite the same. Giving my Fighter a level of Wizard doesn't tank his "to hit" chance, but that's no longer a special advantage of being a Fighter. He loses hit points and gains 2 cantrips and 2 uses of a weak spell (or, let's face it, 2 uses of Shield). What he gains from Wizard is not the same as what the Wizard gains from Fighter.

Heck, if the Wizard player is a little crazy, he can get to level 2 Fighter. This is a bigger investment, but now he can bust action economy by occasionally throwing out two leveled spells a turn- something not even a Sorcerer is allowed to do!

To go back to this food-based analogy, both the Fighter and the Wizard have apples. The Fighter has more apples, but everyone has apples, and the Wizard can get more apples easily. The Wizard has oranges. The Fighter can get oranges too, but while apples are merely additive, where 1 apple plus 1 apple is 2 apples, the more oranges you have, the more value each individual orange gives you.

1 orange is level 1 spells. 2 oranges is level 1 spells, 3 oranges is 2nd level spells, which are more valuable than 1st level spells, and so on.

Worse, at the subclass level (something everyone gets, let's call these...mangos), it was decided that the Fighter could get some oranges. And the Wizard could get some apples.

But as the game goes on, the Eldritch Knight's combined total of apples and oranges is far less than the Bladesinger's combined total of apples and oranges...and we already know that oranges have greater value as you accrue more of them!

Now this is a simplistic approach, the Fighter does eventually pull way ahead on the apple front when they get their third attack. But we're now at a level where a lot of games don't reach, and even if they do, 3 attacks per turn is nice, consistent damage. If you're in a game day with lots of combat rounds, that sure adds up.

But 1 sixth level spell slot, even if only useable once per day, can in theory be equal to all the attacks a Fighter makes in a single combat. Maybe even a 5th level slot. Possibly even a 4th. How does a 3rd-level Hypnotic Pattern compare to what the Fighter does in a combat?

At this point it's all hypothetical: these are apples and oranges, after all. But this can result in problems- after all, apples are only really useful in one of the game's three tiers.

Oranges can be used in all three. There are game days where you can only use a certain amount of apples. But you can always use all of your oranges.

So if you look at things from this perspective, it would behoove all classes to have oranges from a game design standpoint. But many people do not want this. They instead want apples to = oranges, or to add raspberries, limes, and passion fruit to the mix, to further complicate things.

Niche protection really doesn't exist anymore. In most respects, that is a good thing. But now we have to confront the hard truth- if class A can do more things than class B, and what class B does is less special or unique than what class A can do, then some characters now have the potential to be better than others. I do say potential, because there's no guarantee a Wizard outperforms a Fighter all the time.

But the scenarios where the Fighter can outperform the Wizard, combat, vs. the scenarios where the Wizard can outperform the Fighter, occasionally combat, usually exploration, sometimes social, and ALWAYS "other" (need to build a wall, make goods to sell, defend a keep, improve the livelihood of townsfolk, start an industrial revolution, identify magic items, provide shelter, keep enemies at bay, keep watch at night, etc., etc.) are telling. Spellcasters are simply given more opportunities to shine by design and intent. This doesn't mean you must play a spellcaster. Or that the non-spellcaster is obsolete.

But the game runs better if you have a spellcaster in your party than the reverse. The party can accomplish more if you have spells than if you do not. And if you compared an all magic part (say, Cleric, Cleric, Bard, Wizard) vs. (Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Rogue) one of these two is going to encounter more problems than the other.

That this is integral to D&D's design isn't back breaking. I don't particularly care for it, but for many, this is just how D&D is, and they like it that way. But the game books need to be more proactive in letting players know what they can expect if they have less magic in their party compared to more.

WotC has taken a passive approach to this problem by just giving all classes magic options- it's a strange way to balance the game, but ok fine. But then they actually make it worse by giving spellcasters better options for everything, and that's not fine.

The onus is now put squarely on the DM to deal with this mess when problems do occur, and I don't think that's really fair. Maybe the people who play Fighters and Barbarians don't really care that magic solves so many problems; it's the price they willingly pay to not have to wiggle fingers.

But if you have a Barbarian player who is starting to feel less relevant to the game, and they come to you to ask what's going on, it's not right that your basic options are to make the game harder for the magic guys to play, give the Barbarian free stuff (boons, magic items), or tell the Barbarian that's the character he made, but hey, he can always make a different one!
 

The fighter has 1 area that it specialises in: combat, specifically martial combat, the fact that classes that specialise in multiple areas, some of which who don’t even specialise in combat can keep up with the fighter in combat is just plain wrong.

The fighter puts all their eggs in one basket to get to be the person who’s really good at combat at the cost of having nothing else really, but when the other classes come along and get free extra eggs so that everyone is on the same level in combat, this leaves the fighter coming up short when they get told ‘you’ve already got eggs in combat you’re fine’ and they end up having less eggs at the end of it

Sorry about the tortured metaphor.
Its not a bad metaphor. You have three baskets, one for each pillar; Combat/Exploration/Social. Fighter as base might get a distribution of 7/1/1. Wizard 3/1/1. Then each character gets 5 more eggs to distribute amongst the baskets representing character builds.
However a wizard also gets 10 more eggs that they can distribute wherever they want and change that distribution any day.

There is no reason the fighter needs more martial prowess.

If a fighter and a melee wizard or melee bard pull out a weapon and attack they should be close to one another. There is no reason the fighter should be a lot better.
You don't think that the "master of tactical martial combat" concept or the extra years of combat training that the fighter has undergone compared to the wizard or bard should be relevant?

You are bringing up completely unrelated things. If you want the fighter to have summons so he can be as good a summoner as a wizard fine I get it, but that is not at all related to how good they should be in combat with weapons.
Nope. Not unrelated. Spellcasting is just as inherent a part of the blademaster as extra attack and fighting style is for the fighter.
The phrase you used was "effective in battle". Dealing damage is being effective in battle, so damaging spells, whether one-offs, or summons that deal damage is being effective in battle. More effective than the fighter.
Note that I'm only using damage as a metric to make it easier to comprehend. There are many spells that give tactical options that also increase effectiveness in battle in the same way that those maneuvre or other non-damaging tactical options that you are objecting to so strenuously would.

I would not be against giving other casters healing, or giving fighters healing for that matter to bring them up to a clerics level.

Here you are talking about an area Wizards and Warlocks are deficient it - healing. That is a good reason to give them healing magic.
Why bother with Wizards or Warlocks as a class? Just have a single class with access to all spells and abilities.

I am having trouble reasoning through all that, but the rules are very good with respect to martial combat already and no class can do "everything" a fighter can do. A fighter has his things that no other class can do.
Can you give some examples in broad strokes?
Dealing damage - other classes can surpass them.
Taking damage - Other classes can surpass them.
Tactical combat options - Likewise.
Exploration options - . . .

I think a lot of players like the rules, including the fighter design, as it currently is. I think the people who think fighters should have more martial prowess as a base class ability are in the minority. Perhaps not on this thread, but in the game I think they are.
I think a lot of people like the concept of the fighter class, and are willing to put up with 5e's mechanical implementation of it. I think than many of them would be happy to have the option of more tactical variety to choose.
I believe that the attitudes you have expressed in this thread are extremely unusual, and the number of people willing to admit to having those views even rarer.

There are also a lot of players who like to play casters that can keep it close with a fighter when using weapons and you are taking that away from them and really doing it for no reason that I can see. Why take that away from them?
. . .
For the same reason that disabled spaces in car parks "take away" spaces close to the entrance of a supermarket from able-bodied people.
Seriously, - Look up "equality vs equity". If you're trying to bring all of the classes up to the same level of performance, you don't need to buff the one that is already in the lead.

I do not think a class without spells should be an equal in adventuring prowess to a class with spells. That is a poor design in a fantasy setting IMO. Spells are meant to powerful and game-changing.
If you think this, and also think that every other class should be able to do what the fighter can if they build into it, then why do you believe that the fighter still has a place in the game?
If you could get the same results from a Bladesinger who just chooses not to use their main class ability, why play a fighter? This isn't Ars Magica.
 

ECMO3

Hero
It seems completely illogical to me the wizard being able to be the best in spellcasting and the fighter not being able to be the best in fighting.
Next step is the Cleric not being able to be the best in healing and rogue not being able to be the best in stealth, because the wizard can't feel left out.
The fighter is the best in fighting. It is just not so far ahead that a Wizard or Bard or Warlock optimized for melee combat using subclass and feats is irrelevant.

As a class, the Cleric is not the best at healing, the Druid is. The Cleric can be the best with subclass, but as a base class a Druid is a better healer than a Cleric and a Paladin is close.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
It is absolutely mind-boggling that, when someone says, "I would like to give the Fighter more eggs, so that the Wizard-dabbling-in-Fighter isn't essentially the same PLUS all their baseline Wizard features," the response is, "No, you cannot do that. If you give the Fighter extra eggs, you MUST give the Wizard exactly as many eggs, otherwise you're shortchanging the Wizard."

It is mind-boggling that people want to be gatekeepers and not let players play what they want to play.

It is not like anyone is being forced to play a fighter if it is unfair.


Shortchanging the Wizard--or, rather, not giving them anything more than they currently have--is the WHOLE POINT.

And here it comes out. This is not really about giving a fighter things to be more fun to play, it is about restricting other classes from doing those same things.

If people are really so concerned about the fighter, why does it matter what other classes get.

Spells are significantly more powerful, and I want the Fighter to get something that ISN'T spells but that DOES make up for (some small part of) the existing gap.

I am fine with that conceptually as long as it does not WIDEN the gap on martial combat prowess.
 

ECMO3

Hero
this game was practically built on having classes that had exclusive things and roles that they could do better than everyone else, it's why you built a team with those characters so they support where each other lacks.
you have a fighter because the wizard can't take hits or wield the good weapons, you have a cleric because the fighter can't heal or turn undead, you have a rogue because the cleric can't stealthily scout ahead or deal with locks and traps, you have a wizard because the rogue can't magic missile the intangible ghost or cast fly over the lava lake that ignites all your rope from the heat.

5e changed this a lot. Just look at how the rules work with the examples you gave.

You have many fighters who can't wield the best weapons because they are dex based and dumped strength or are small and the best weapons aren't available without substantial penalties. You also have fighter builds that can't take a lot of hits, they do get a d10 hit dice, but without investment in constitution that is not going to be enough.

While every cleric can heal, a lot of clerics in the game do not heal as a build choice and do not prepare a lot of healing. That is common place in 5E, they may carry around a healing word to bring up a downed player, but the Cleric is often not much of a healer at all in play and players either need to rely on other characters (in some cases other clerics, in some cases other classes), their own abilities or potions to fulfil the need for healing. On the other side of a coin a Cleric can easily be built to scout and open locks. A Cleric with a high Dex and criminal background is going to be good at scouting, and good at opening locks. As good at those things as the Rogue who puts his expertise elsewhere. You can pick Trickster and at 3rd level when pass without trace comes online he becomes superb at scouting, and things like Prodigy or skill expert can let him do even better.

A Rogue flying over Lava merely requires a flying race and a character of any race can pick up Magic Missile on a feat by 4th level. a Rogue specifically can pick it up on a subclass at 3rd level.

All of these builds you mention are available! As a class those base classes - Fighter, Cleric and Rogue offer options to maximize in melee, healing and scouting respectively but that is no reason to restrict other classes from doing that, or to make those other builds irrelevant by making the classes too good at it.

The fact that you can do these things is central to 5E game design and a huge improvement over previous versions of the game where you couldn't.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
You don't think that the "master of tactical martial combat" concept or the extra years of combat training that the fighter has undergone compared to the wizard or bard should be relevant?

To start with, most players don't spend years of combat training. They start with a background which they typically gave up months before to embark on an adventuring career. I don't think I have ever had players with years of downtime, but on the rare occasion downtime is available most players are persuing dowtime activity.

In any case to answer your question more directly, I think the master of tactical combat should give them a small edge over another character like a Wizard or Bard who likewise chooses to spend a comparable amount of time training for martial combat.

To put this another way incorporating the actual rules - compared to an Enchantment Wizard or a Lore Bard that subclass-free fighter should have a huge advantage (and he does). On the other hand there should only be a small edge for a subclassless fighter as compared to a Swords Bard or Bladesinger who also takes combat related feats to bolster herself even more. This latter Wizard or Bard is also spending time training to be good at martial combat and is sacrificing class abilities to do it (specifically subclass and ASIs)

Nope. Not unrelated. Spellcasting is just as inherent a part of the blademaster as extra attack and fighting style is for the fighter.
The phrase you used was "effective in battle". Dealing damage is being effective in battle, so damaging spells, whether one-offs, or summons that deal damage is being effective in battle. More effective than the fighter.

Sure but the context I used it in was as effective in martial combat with weapons.

to turn this around on you - your argument is the Wizard can be more effective in battle overall because of spells, and I won't argue with that. But the fighter would also be more effective in combat with spells if he had them and to me it makes more sense to give him this than to give him more abilities with weapons. It preserves the builds people like to play now, while also making the fighter more versatile and ultimately more effective than he currently is.


Why bother with Wizards or Warlocks as a class? Just have a single class with access to all spells and abilities.

Because people like playing Wizards and Warlocks. Why would you take away classes people enjoy playing.

Regardless of what new rules we put in place mechancis are always going to be such that one class can be optimized more than another, just because one class objectively can be the most poerful, does not mean people should not be allowed to choose other classes.

Can you give some examples in broad strokes?

Action Surge, Extra attack giving more than two attacks a round, second wind which is a bonus action healing and two of the fighting styles are uniwue to fighter. One of the fighting styles actually affords the kinds of maneuvers people talk about (albeit in a limited fashion and only one of them).

In addition to these unique things, the fighter has other things including martial weapon proficiency (common to 3 other classes) and heavy armor proficiency common only to one other class and they have more ASIs which can be used to get even more combat-oriented stuff while staying on the same ability score ladder as the other classes.

That is all part of the class abilities. It is also important to point out that non-martial subclasses that can get extra attack, martial weapon proficiency and heavy armor proficiency do it as a subclass ability and none of them can get all of these.

The only non-martial build you can make that gets martial weapon proficiency, heavy armor proficiency and extra attack is a Warlock and you need to use your subclass, pact, invocation and a feat to get all that .... what a fighter gets at 1st level as part of his class. Even a Ranger or a Barbarian is going to need a feat to get all this!


I think a lot of people like the concept of the fighter class, and are willing to put up with 5e's mechanical implementation of it. I think than many of them would be happy to have the option of more tactical variety to choose.

I think tactical variety is already there based on fighting style, feat and subclass options. I do not think most players would want more built into the base class.

For the same reason that disabled spaces in car parks "take away" spaces close to the entrance of a supermarket from able-bodied people.
Seriously, - Look up "equality vs equity". If you're trying to bring all of the classes up to the same level of performance, you don't need to buff the one that is already in the lead.

I do not think classes need to have the same level of performancen and I am having trouble with the solutions as presented.

The way this discussion is going now is that people are not upset because the fighter can't do a lot. It is not about the lack of options for the fighter, but rather about the large number of comparitive options for other classes.

People now appear to be more focused on limiting what other characters can do relative to the fighter than focusing on what they want to make the fighter more fun.

That is what I have a big problem with - trying to limit options for others to be viable.

I don't like the disabled argument, however to get my point across my Wizard has a disabled tag that lets him park in the disabled space next to the fighter because he chose the bladesinger subclass, then he should be allowed to park in that space. The fact that he drives a Ferrari and can pay for someone to carry him to and from a normal space in the back is not relevant

If you think this, and also think that every other class should be able to do what the fighter can if they build into it, then why do you believe that the fighter still has a place in the game?

Because I like to play fighters and others like to play fighters and they like it with the rules right now that allow other classes to "do what the fighter can"

If people like playing the fighter and continue to play the fighter why do you keep insisting there is no place for it? Why don't you play what you want and let them play what they want?

If you could get the same results from a Bladesinger who just chooses not to use their main class ability, why play a fighter? This isn't Ars Magica.
To start with, assuming equal rolls on ability scores you do need to use defensive spells to maintain equivalence in melee with a bladesinger. Their extra attack, song of defense and song of victory bring a lot to the table, but not enough to really keep up without using defensive spells. Unless you just rolled bonkers a 10+ level bladesinger is going to be behind a 10+ level fighter without using any spells.

To answer your question though - it is because people like to play the current fighter.

The Wizard as written right now is the most powerful class and with the right subclass and feat selections can fill any role in the game. They are limited as healers but they can even take a fair shot at that.

If your premise were true, why would people play any other class at all (or at least any other except a healer)? Yet we don't see every player playing a Wizard do we? We see people playing Rogues, and Rangers and Paladins and Sorcerers and even fighters. To be honest I see more of those than I do Wizards. If people are playing those then it is because they choose to play them, even though a Wizard is more objectively powerful.

You can question their logic and maybe you only play a Wizard because of if, but it is not false and does not make their choice wrong. The rules are there and people can play what they want to play.

I play with two different players who play the same class every single time - one plays a Fighter and one plays an Artificer. There are a bunch of different more powerful options but that does not make their choices "wrong".

I also know another player who gets Witchbolt every time he plays a Sorcerer. That is not a good spell, but he likes it and he gets it and for that reason it should not be banned from the game.
 
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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
It is mind-boggling that people want to be gatekeepers and not let players play what they want to play.

It is not like anyone is being forced to play a fighter if it is unfair.
what people want is to play a fighter who isn't matched, and sometimes even outmatched at martial combat by other classes who aren't specifically meant to be specialised at doing it and get to have other specialisations too.

no-one is forced to play as a fighter, but you shouldn't be penalised in what you can do if you want to pick it over another class either.
And here it comes out. This is not really about giving a fighter things to be more fun to play, it is about restricting other classes from doing those same things.

If people are really so concerned about the fighter, why does it matter what other classes get.
it is about giving the fighter new fun things, but things that other classes don't get because the fighter is behind in what it has compared to the others, people don't want the wizard getting more toys because they're already way ahead of the curve.
I am fine with that conceptually as long as it does not WIDEN the gap on martial combat prowess.
no, the gap ought to be made bigger, the fighter's capabilities at martial combat are not good enough for a class who only gets to be good at martial combat. when other classes get to be basically as good at martial combat and do other things.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
what people want is to play a fighter who isn't just matched, but sometimes even outmatched at martial combat by other classes who aren't specifically meant to be specialised at doing it and get to have other specialisations too.

no-one is forced to play as a fighter, but you shouldn't be penalised in what you can do if you want to pick it over another class either.

You aren't penalized. The rules are there, you take it knowing what the abilities and limitations are.

I have never felt penalized by my choice to play a fighter. I know other people have and I am not saying that isn't their experience, but you will hurt the fun for a lot of people if you put fighters "out of reach"

If you choose to optimize your fighter for combat with weapons, you will not be outmatched in that role by any other single classed character with the same ability rolls.

When a fighter is outmatched in combat with weapons it is either because they got crap rolls compared to another character, or because they made character build decisions that drive their character that way. Assuming equal abilities - playing a small race, taking non-combat feats, boosting Chrisma, Intelligence or Wisdom instead of Constitution will all mean a fighter will not be as viable with weapon combat as someone who did not make those choices and in that case; yes someone who purposely optimizes another class for weapon combat can outmatch the fighter. Those are "eyes open" decisions though. You know that you are sacrificing power in combat when you make those decisions, as those other classes are sacrificing power in other ways as well.

For example, a Bladesinger that is going full on into melee at high level is going to be burning a crap ton of high level slots on false life to keep up with a basic fighter with no subclass. They are sacrificing quite a bit to maintain that status quo. They are also going to be either sacrificing their first round of combat throwing up a defensive spell, or they are going to be sacrificing their opportunity attacks on reaction spells and Song of Defense or both. Now that build can outmatch certain fighter builds in weapon combat, and will outmatch a basic subclass-free fighter with no feats. But it is stupid easy to build a fighter to keep up with or be better than that bladesinger in melee with weapons with the right subclass and ASI choices.

it is about giving the fighter new fun things, but things that other classes don't get because the fighter is behind in what it has compared to the others, people don't want the wizard getting more toys because they're already way ahead of the curve.

Not really. It is not about giving the fighter new fun things, because as soon as you mention giving those same things to other classes too people don't want to do that.

If you need X, Y and Z to "make fighter fun" then you the fighter not hurt by giving those same things to other classes. You can still play a fighter and do those things, this is more about not letting other players do those things.

no, the gap ought to be made bigger, the fighter's capabilities at martial combat are not good enough for a class who only gets to be good at martial combat. when other classes get to be basically as good at martial combat and do other things.

You can already make it bigger with subclass selection as those other classes are narrowing that gap with subclass selections.

If you don't consider subclasses, the fighter is already WAY, WAY ahead of full casters in weapon combat and to be honest way ahead of Barbarians and Rangers too. When it comes to class they are really in a class all their own.

In an earlier reply to you I posted observations on a Cleric who can sneak, open locks and disable traps and on a Rogue who can fly over lava and use magic missile - do you not think those options should be allowed either or that we need to put rules in place so characters besides Rogues and Wizards/Sorcerers can't do those things effectively?
 
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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
if fighter isn't allowed unique class abilities to let them excell at the things they're meant to be best at then why is the barbarian allowed to get rage, the druid get wildshape, the rogue get sneak attack and reliable talent, the sorcerer metamagic, the paladin get smites?
as you yourself noted there are other classes that have access to martial weapons and heavy armour, and several of those that don't get heavy get medium which is barely behind heavy for AC, having 2 more attacks, more options for fighting styles and high HP are not enough to stake a class's identity on and claim it is on equal footing with the others
 
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