D&D 5E Martials should just get free feats


log in or register to remove this ad

I did acknowledge that as of Tashas the Fighter does have some unique options for fighting style. I also think it's a huge edge case to say that the fighter is great because they can have a heavy armor proficiency and the Archery fighting style though.

Also, the other issue is that these unique things can be gotten with a 1 level dip in fighter. Similar to the Warlock problem in that regard.
What warlock problem? There's a hexblade problem - but warlocks get a lot more than that.
 

Shadowedeyes

Adventurer
What warlock problem? There's a hexblade problem - but warlocks get a lot more than that.
Eldritch Blast is basically a Warlock "Exclusive" ability but two levels of Warlock and you're about as good as someone who went all the way in Warlock. Hence making it prime dipping material for Sorcerers, Bards and even Paladins who want a solid ranged ability.
 

Two levels is a pretty substantial investment. I don't honestly see before level 9 giving up an entire level of spells to double your cantrip damage to be an obviously good investment. Unfortunately all three classes have additional synergy with Eldritch Blast.
  • Bards aren't merely doubling their cantrip damage; a design decision was made that bards are probably the single lowest damage class. And grabbing a full power Eldritch Blast pushes them into the bottom of the consistent big leagues.
  • Paladins are dipping Warlock 1 to hexblade and attack with Charisma. This is simply a broken option and once you've done that grabbing a second level is an adequate choice. Eldritch Blast is an optional choice (whether it's optimal is open to question) in a broken build.
  • Sorcerers have Quicken Spell, and doubling your cantrip damage doubles the effect of Quicken Spell. And that's before we get into Coffeelocks.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Here are your words:

"If everyone who wants to melee can do anything that the fighter can, as well as their own, powerful class abilities, then why have a fighter at all? ..... 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?"

My interpetation of that is that you don't think the fighter has a place in the game unless it is way better at martial combat, using only class abilities, than a Caster can possibly be using all of her abilities.

If I misunderstood you I appologize.
Yes, I do in fact want that. Because the Fighter cannot--even with a caster subclass--choose to be anything but combat-specialized. They can dabble a tiny bit in something else. They cannot even remotely approach the Wizard for spellcasting--but the Wizard can very nearly match the Fighter without casting a single slotted spell.

I want Baseline Fighter good enough, comparing class to class, to make taking a Fighter instead of a Wizard a REALLY tempting choice. I want a choice of breadth vs depth. Wizard should be broad but shallow: jack of all (magical) trades, master of none. Fighter should be the reverse, deep but narrow.

Subclass should branch out, but never match a specialist. Eldritch Knight, as is, will never even potentially match a Wizard--but they're passable as secondary Wizards in a pinch. Bladesinger should be exactly the same: incapable of replacing a Fighter at Fighter-ing, but giving enough Fighter-y things to be passable if that's what a player wants.

Instead, the Bladesinger is almost exactly 3/4ths of a baseline Fighter (with fighting style!*) without either spending their resources (cantrips only.) Heavy armor and big weapons are perfectly matched by good Dex/Int, Bladesong, and cantrips. You don't need to blow all your spells on damage and defense to keep up, either. Extra Attack with a cantrip by itself gets you a ton. And you'll still have ritual magic, non-offense cantrips, and Arcane Recovery even if you do burn through all your starting spell slots.

*Baseline level 20 Bladesinger damage: 4d12+1d8+10 = 40.5, before accuracy/crits/ST. Baseline level 20 Fighter w/GWF Greatsword damage: 53.33... before accuracy/crits. And 40.5/53.33... = ~0.759. A Bladesinger is pumping out 3/4ths of the baseline damage a Fighter should be at level 20, doing it effectively every combat of the day. And because almost half of the Fighter's damage is static, crits don't help nearly as much as they could.
 

I personally don't think making a class annoying to play is a good way to balance it.

So I take it you're not for adding critical spell failure?
 

Attachments

  • warhamer.jpg
    warhamer.jpg
    63.8 KB · Views: 78


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
So I take it you're not for adding critical spell failure?
Not as a general rule, no. I do have a perverse love of wild magic, but that's something I feel players should be allowed to "opt in" to.

There are games (and game worlds) where something like that makes perfect sense though, but the last time I added strange magic rules to a campaign, the players didn't seem to care for them very much.

What I'm working on now is balancing magic with a recharge mechanic, so you might not always have a given spell available to cast once you've used it once. Though this system wouldn't use spell slots, so it could be busted- I'm hoping instead it will lead to creative play.

"Wizard, what spells can you cast? There's a horde of Kobolds in these tunnels!"

"Uh, right now? Well, uh, what can we do with Levitate, Sleet Storm, and, uh, rolls...Expeditious Retreat?"
 

ECMO3

Hero
Yes, I do in fact want that. Because the Fighter cannot--even with a caster subclass--choose to be anything but combat-specialized. They can dabble a tiny bit in something else. They cannot even remotely approach the Wizard for spellcasting--but the Wizard can very nearly match the Fighter without casting a single slotted spell.

If the fighter subclass got full spell progression as I recommend above they would have nearly equivalent power in terms of spell casting.

When it comes to spell casting, if you took my recommendations above for the subclass here is what they would not have:

Spell preparation (they would have known spells instead)
Cantrips
Arcane Recovery
Ritual Casting
Spell Mastery
Signature Spells

They would have everything else a Wizard gets as a class WRT spell casting.

If you compare this to the "martial Wizard" who does not have:
Martial Weapon Proficiency
Fighting Style
Medium and Heavy Armor proficiency (admittedly this is not a big loss)
Fighter Extra Attack (admitedly they have the next best extra attack)
Second Wind
Indomitable
Action Surge
2 extra ASIs


I want Baseline Fighter good enough, comparing class to class, to make taking a Fighter instead of a Wizard a REALLY tempting choice.

It already meets this requirement. Taking Fighter as a class is much more tempting than taking Wizard. While some people do not like the current fighter, a lot more of them like it than the current Wizard.

While my experiences are anecdotal, I have never seen anyone suggest that Wizard is chosen more often at their tables than fighter.


I want a choice of breadth vs depth. Wizard should be broad but shallow: jack of all (magical) trades, master of none. Fighter should be the reverse, deep but narrow.

I disagree. I am okm with making a fighter broader, but I don't want it any deeper.


Subclass should branch out, but never match a specialist.

They should ALWAYS come close to matching a specialist. That is why Eldritch Knight shoudlget full caster progression.

Eldritch Knight, as is, will never even potentially match a Wizard--but they're passable as secondary Wizards in a pinch. Bladesinger should be exactly the same: incapable of replacing a Fighter at Fighter-ing, but giving enough Fighter-y things to be passable if that's what a player wants.

The reverse is true. EK should be almost as capable as a Wizard (assuming you invest in intelligence, which is a compromise to your fighting potential). Not quite but almost. That is the big shortcoming in that subclass, but just because that subclass is flawed does not mean we should boost the fighter class.

Instead, the Bladesinger is almost exactly 3/4ths of a baseline Fighter (with fighting style!*) without either spending their resources (cantrips only.)

There are more than one way to calculate this though and things like martial weapon proficiency are difficult to quantify with hard numbers.

You can quantify the best martial weapon (Maul or Greatsword) vs the best bladesinger weapon (rapier). But that does not account for magic. If you find a Holy Avenger mace or for that matter even a magic finesse weapon when the Bladesinger chose Rapier as his weapon the fighter is going to have a huge advantage.


Heavy armor and big weapons are perfectly matched by good Dex/Int, Bladesong, and cantrips.

They aren't perfectly matched when you consider the extra ASIs, the extra ability the Bladesinger must boost, the subclass abilities and the fact that the Bladesinger is only proficient in one single martial melee weapon.

At 20th level a Bladesinger using a Rapier is doing 5d8+20 in bladesong. So that is 43 DPR primary damage and it includes the damage from his subclass. Out of Bladesong it is 33 DPR

A 20th Fighter with a non-magic Greatsword is doing 8d6+20. That is 49 DPR and doesn't consider action surge, fighting style, the 4 extra ASIs he gets (the Wizard had to use 2 on intelligence) or subclass.

If those two are in the same party and happen to find a Vorpal Scimitar (would have been great for the Bladesinger if he had not chose Rapier) - Now the fighter is doing 5d6+32 without any subclass abilities and chopping off heads on a crit.

Also note, Eldritch Knight can do a similar trick to the bladesinger making an attack and a cantrip in the same turn, and can do it with better weapons than attacking with dex will allow.


You don't need to blow all your spells on damage and defense to keep up, either. Extra Attack with a cantrip by itself gets you a ton. And you'll still have ritual magic, non-offense cantrips, and Arcane Recovery even if you do burn through all your starting spell slots.

If you do not cast a defensive spell and upcast false life, a Wizard will get decimated in melee at high level. Not only does that use high level spell slots, more importantly it uses actions.

Cut the Wizards damage by 25% because he buffs himself the first turn of combat .... then boost the fighters by 10% because of action surge.

Extra attack with a cantrip does get you a ton, but less than a fighter gets at high level and it is also a subclass ability. Do you want to bring fighter subclasses into this discussion as well?

How much damage is a basic Wizard doing in melee without relying on his subclass?


*Baseline level 20 Bladesinger damage: 4d12+1d8+10 = 40.5, before accuracy/crits/ST. Baseline level 20 Fighter w/GWF Greatsword damage: 53.33... before accuracy/crits. And 40.5/53.33... = ~0.759. A Bladesinger is pumping out 3/4ths of the baseline damage a Fighter should be at level 20, doing it effectively every combat of the day. And because almost half of the Fighter's damage is static, crits don't help nearly as much as they could.

Where is 4d12 coming from and how many hit points does the Wizard have?

A Bladesinger using a rapier and bladesinger extra attack at level 20 with max intelligence and max dexterity is doing 5d8+20 ... which ironically is more than 40.5 in bladesong (including crits).

The fighters damage does not include subclass or the FOUR extra feats he gets compared to that Wizard.

If you really want to do this comparison right give the fighter an AC, subclass and ASIs and hit points and then show me that total comparison .... or alternatively take the subclass away from the Wizard.

Although your numbers are flawed, I actually agree with the 75% being a rough approximation for a dedecated melee Wizard. I think that is about right for a Bladesinger Wizard who is hard core dedicated to being a melee character as compared with a basic melee Fighter with no subclass. Such a Wizard will not have the power outside of melee that other Wizards have though. They will have rituals and they will have cantrips but they won't have a lot of slots for much else unless they are willing to go below that 75% number. This is "balanced" by the fact that they are only 75% of a subclass-free fighter in combat and less once you consider a fighter's subclass.

A Bladesinger who wants to dabble in melee but still occasionally cast fear, synaptic static or forcecage won't come close to being 75% of a fighter in melee. At mid levels you don't have the slots to do that while still being able to melee well for 6 fights a day (half without bladesong). At high levels you will get hit even with your sky-high AC and you will need to burn through slots for False Life and song of defense to really keep up with the extra hit points and second wind that the fighter gets.
 
Last edited:

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
If the fighter subclass got full spell progression as I recommend above they would have nearly equivalent power in terms of spell casting.
Which does nothing for all the Fighters who DON'T cast spells.

That's the thing you seem to be not getting here. The Fighter, at is baseline, is too weak. The Fighter, at its baseline, needs to not be that weak. Period.

If you compare this to the "martial Wizard" who does not have:
Martial Weapon Proficiency
Fighting Style
Medium and Heavy Armor proficiency (admittedly this is not a big loss)
Fighter Extra Attack (admitedly they have the next best extra attack)
Second Wind
Indomitable
Action Surge
2 extra ASIs
Weapon proficiency is irrelevant.
Fighting style is almost irrelevant because Bladesinger gets a special Extra Attack that replaces one attack with a scaling cantrip.
I would call armor proficiency also irrelevant.
Fighter Extra Attack is taken care of by the aforementioned cantrip.
Second Wind has nothing to do with damage.
Indomitable has nothing to do with damage.
And extra ASIs are exactly what I'm saying the Fighter should get EVEN MORE of.

It already meets this requirement. Taking Fighter as a class is much more tempting than taking Wizard.
Nope. Not even close.

While some people do not like the current fighter, a lot more of them like it than the current Wizard.
Then prove it. Show where you have documented evidence that people explicitly prefer the way the Fighter is designed over the way the Wizard is designed.

But you won't be able to, because such proof does not exist. All you have is that Fighters are commonly played. That has literally, actually, NOTHING to do with the way the class is designed, because every single edition has had the Fighter as the most popular class. Period. Even 3e, where essentially everyone--even Paizo!--agreed that the Fighter was too weak and needed a boost. (They just....also boosted the Wizard, and the boost they gave to the Fighter was really weak. Meaning the gap remained.)

While my experiences are anecdotal, I have never seen anyone suggest that Wizard is chosen more often at their tables than fighter.
Which is 100% completely irrelevant to whether they are actually comparable choices.

I disagree. I am okm with making a fighter broader, but I don't want it any deeper.
Then we must take power away from the Wizard, OR give things like feats to the Fighter. Those are the only options which can resolve this problem without outright rewriting the classes.

They should ALWAYS come close to matching a specialist. That is why Eldritch Knight shoudlget full caster progression.
Why? Why should a subclass somehow make you a specialist? It's literally an add-on! It should NEVER be as good as taking a whole second class, not even close!

The reverse is true. EK should be almost as capable as a Wizard (assuming you invest in intelligence, which is a compromise to your fighting potential). Not quite but almost. That is the big shortcoming in that subclass, but just because that subclass is flawed does not mean we should boost the fighter class.
Genuine question:
Other than aping the Fighter, meaning excluding things like Hexblade and Bladesinger, do any subclasses actually work this way in 5e? Is there even one subclass that makes you nearly as good a spellcaster as a Wizard? Is there even one subclass that makes you as good at healing and support as a Cleric? Even one that makes you comparable to a Bard's illusions and buffs and such?

Because it sounds, to me, like you are wanting to rewrite 5e in order to make subclass essentially as strong as class, simply because one class--Fighter--can get eclipsed by the subclasses of other classes.

There are more than one way to calculate this though and things like martial weapon proficiency are difficult to quantify with hard numbers.
Weapon proficiencies are irrelevant. The only weapons that matter are rapier (1d8, finesse), greatsword (2d6, 2H), greataxe (1d12, 2H), and glaive/halberd (1d10, polearm.) Ranged weapons are irrelevant because of ranged spell attack cantrips (fire bolt being the best choice.) Bladesinging gives you rapier prof, which is all you need.

You can quantify the best martial weapon (Maul or Greatsword) vs the best bladesinger weapon (rapier). But that does not account for magic. If you find a Holy Avenger mace or for that matter even a magic finesse weapon when the Bladesinger chose Rapier as his weapon the fighter is going to have a huge advantage.
You should not ever assume magic items for only one side. That's clearly biased.

If you do not cast a defensive spell and upcast false life, a Wizard will get decimated in melee at high level. Not only does that use high level spell slots, more importantly it uses actions.
Then show the math.

Cut the Wizards damage by 25% because he buffs himself the first turn of combat .... then boost the fighters by 10% because of action surge.
I consider this neither necessary nor relevant. Especially because there's no guarantee the Fighter is getting to attack on the first turn either.

Extra attack with a cantrip does get you a ton, but less than a fighter gets at high level and it is also a subclass ability. Do you want to bring fighter subclasses into this discussion as well?
No, because the point was to compare the whole (baseline) Fighter class to JUST cantrips+Bladesinger. Because that alone--cantrips+Bladesinger--gives you a HUGE amount of the Fighter class.

How much damage is a basic Wizard doing in melee without relying on his subclass?
The question is irrelevant.

Where is 4d12 coming from and how many hit points does the Wizard have?
Toll the dead. The hit points are irrelevant.

A Bladesinger using a rapier and bladesinger extra attack at level 20 with max intelligence and max dexterity is doing 5d8+20 ... which ironically is more than 40.5 in bladesong (including crits).
I was using toll the dead, which is a saving throw and thus cannot crit.

The fighters damage does not include subclass or the FOUR extra feats he gets compared to that Wizard.
It's not four. It's two.

If you really want to do this comparison right give the fighter an AC, subclass and ASIs and hit points and then show me that total comparison .... or alternatively take the subclass away from the Wizard.
Flatly disagree.

Although your numbers are flawed, I actually agree with the 75% being a rough approximation for a dedecated melee Wizard. I think that is about right for a Bladesinger Wizard who is hard core dedicated to being a melee character as compared with a basic melee Fighter with no subclass.
It's not. It's literally just "damage (before hit/saving throws) for toll the dead + one melee attack" vs "damage with a Greatsword and GWF."

I specifically calculated it this way because it shows the "fallback" options. Meaning, this is the absolute floor. With the possible exception of only a handful of rounds per day, the Bladesinger is doing nothing less than 75% of the raw, before-accuracy damage a baseline Fighter is doing--and I assumed a Fighter with Great Weapon Fighting and a greatsword.

Battle Master, probably the best damage option for a Fighter (because Eldritch Knight scales so poorly), is only getting +6d10 per rest. Few groups take more than two short rests per day, so that's 18d10. Even if we're generous and assume a third of those get attached to crits (since they get applied after the fact), that's still only 24d10. A max-level Wizard has six 5th level spell slots per day (depending on their usage of Arcane Recovery; they can't recover four because they don't have four 5th level slots.) Not even considering any of their other spells, just those six. Synaptic static is 8d6 psychic (Int save for half), cone of cold is an AoE 8d8 cold (Con save for half), dawn is a repeatable 4d10 radiant (Con save for half.) Assume half of saving throws succeed (a pretty poor showing on the Wizard's part, but easy math), and dawn only attempts to hit two targets each time and never lasts more than one round (so in total two targets save, two targets fail.) That's 1.5×(28+36+2×22) = 162 expected damage. 24d10 is 132 expected damage--again, allowing that a full third of the time, the Battle Master applies Superiority Dice to crits so they pull double duty. Just using your 5th level spells and Arcane Recovery, without any other expenditure, exceeds the bonus damage of the Battle Master. One class feature lets you exceed an entire subclass!

Dedicate all your 4th level slots to false life, and all your 1st-level slots to something defensive and useful (e.g. shield.) Make silvery barbs your 1st-level Spell Mastery pick, and your choice of defensive spell for 2nd level: blur, invisibility, or misty step are all great options, or you can take shadow blade to improve your cantrip+attack damage even further, becoming 4d12+2d8+10 (45 average.)

This leaves you with two 6th, two 7th, one 8th, and one 9th level spell free to do whatever you want, as well as all of your 2nd and 3rd level spells. In other words, at least in terms of slot levels, the majority of slot-based magic you'll use during the day: 3×2+3×3+2×6+2×7+8+9 = 58 slot-levels' worth of spells, out of the total 58+5+4×4+6×5 = 109. 58/109 = 53%.

Of course, Action Surge hasn't been factored in. Ignoring accuracy, that adds about 320 extra damage on the Fighter's side (as few groups take more than two short rests per day and Action Surge is 2/rest at high level.) That, I admit, is more difficult to match, but it definitely doesn't require that you expend all of the aforementioned unspent spell slots on damage. And I'm heavily lowballing the Wizard's damage, while assuming the Battle Master always hits. I hope you'll agree that that's heavily biased in the Fighter's favor.

Edit: Actually, I messed up on the Wizard math--cone of cold is an AoE spell, so it should also be hitting two targets (assuming one saves, one fails). So those six spell slots are actually doing 1.5×(28+2×36+2×22) = 216 damage. Meaning the entire Battle Master contribution falls 84 points short, even if we assume a third of her Superiority Dice get double-rolled because they're used on crits, and assuming a Wizard who uses their AoE spells exceedingly poorly. The Wizard now only needs to come up with ~240 extra damage from spells to eclipse the Fighter--and that certainly won't take anywhere near the number of spell slots they have available. It only gets worse if we consider earlier levels: 17-19, Fighter only has 3 attacks per action, not 4, while the Wizard has maximum scaling on their cantrips and 9th level spells; 16 and below, Fighter only has half as many Action Surges per day, drastically cutting her damage output. High level Fighter is playing catch-up, not lapping!
 
Last edited:

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top