D&D 5E My Super Simple Idea for a Better Fighter

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I threw this out there in another thread and NOBODY RESPONDED. /sob

I started trying to design a Fighter subclass that had special moves that could be used infinitely, without consuming resources (X times/rest) but instead were gated situationally, or with an action/bonus action/reaction cost. But most of my ideas for those abilities overlapped with feats. So I thought, "Well, why not feats?"

Presenting....the world's least verbose subclass!

Warrior
Whenever you gain a subclass feature, choose one feat from Mobility, Alert, Charger, Grappler, Shield Master, Mage Slayer, Defensive Duelist, and Sentinel.

EDIT: Also the new Tasha's feat that lets you choose a fighting style.

Notes:
- I did not include any feats that give an ASI
- I also left off Polearm Master/GWM/SS. The Fighter still has plenty of feats if you want those.
- In general I was going for feats that give you something new to do, give you a new way to use something you have, or change the calculus on when you would use it. And then there's Alert, which I just like.

Thoughts? OP?
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
So it's a fighter with more feats?

Yes.

5 extra feats over 20 levels, or probably 3 over an average campaign. It's certainly better than some subclasses...

That makes it sound like "what it is now, just more so". But since, at least in my experience, those first four feats (4,6,8,10) are heavily weighted toward ASIs or feats not on this list, the result would be Fighters that actually have more choices...and maybe feel a little more heroic...in combat. Not just hitting harder, but doing cool stuff.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
Looks like it's at the higher tier of fighter subclass power, but not totally unreasonable to me. At least we have one clear point of comparison for 10th level fighter subclass features in the Champion's Additional Fighting Style which exactly equates to the feat Fighting Initiate from TCoE. I'd let a player run a fighter like this.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
You’ve pretty much circled back around to the 3e/3.5e fighter. I remember during the playtest this concept got a lot of pushback because folks (myself included) wanted to make sure the fighter had its own distinct identity that wasn’t just “the same thing anyone else can do, but more of it.” That said, I agree with you that abilities that are restricted by action economy, situational use, and potentially drawbacks, rather than the expenditure of an abstract resource, feels right for the fighter, and in 5e such abilities tend to end up as feats.

I’m onboard with the idea of the Fighter getting extra feats, so long as there’s something else unique to the fighter that draws people to it specifically. Maybe Second Wind and Action Surge are enough? I don’t really know. It’s hard when classes are just vague archetypes instead of occupying a more specific design space like they did in 4e.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
You’ve pretty much circled back around to the 3e/3.5e fighter. I remember during the playtest this concept got a lot of pushback because folks (myself included) wanted to make sure the fighter had its own distinct identity that wasn’t just “the same thing anyone else can do, but more of it.” That said, I agree with you that abilities that are restricted by action economy, situational use, and potentially drawbacks, rather than the expenditure of an abstract resource, feels right for the fighter, and in 5e such abilities tend to end up as feats.

I’m onboard with the idea of the Fighter getting extra feats, so long as there’s something else unique to the fighter that draws people to it specifically. Maybe Second Wind and Action Surge are enough? I don’t really know. It’s hard when classes are just vague archetypes instead of occupying a more specific design space like they did in 4e.

I forgot to include "risk/reward" mechanics in my list, what you call "potential drawbacks". My favorite example is the Barbarian's Reckless Attack. Great mechanic.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
This feat-only Fighter works better if there are new higher tier feats with level prereqs.

Normal feats are available at level "0" or 1 at character creation.

Probably have the prereqs at level 5 (normally taken for the feat at level 8 but this Fighter might get it sooner), level 9, 13, and 17.

The feats can offer benefits comparable to high level spells.

Avoid feat chains, unless a later feat truly needs the earlier benefit, and the earlier one is excellent by itself.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
This feat-only Fighter works better if there are new higher tier feats with level prereqs.

Normal feats are available at level "0" or 1 at character creation.

Probably have the prereqs at level 5 (normally taken for the feat at level 8 but this Fighter might get it sooner), level 9, 13, and 17.

The feats can offer benefits comparable to high level spells.

Avoid feat chains, unless a later feat truly needs the earlier benefit, and the earlier one is excellent by itself.

For the most part I don't think higher level feats are necessary; it works just fine as it is. But your post did make me realize that my scheme is missing the "capstone" concept present in most subclasses.

And even if I thought of a good one, I kind of like the one-line subclass. Would hate to add more text.

Then again, the vast majority of characters never reach that level.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Maybe a Feat I'd like to add (for all classes....rogue and monk would benefit, too) would be:

Quick Reflexes
You may take an additional reaction, but only one reaction per turn. This feat can be taken multiple times.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I threw this out there in another thread and NOBODY RESPONDED. /sob
I am not a fan.

It is not OP compared to the best wizards, but it is not inline with the flavor of a fighter IMO. It feels very 3E to me and will lock fighters into being even more narrow than they currently are. I would like changes that make Fighters broad in terms of martial abilities, guys that can use any weapon and use it well instead of things which make a particular build dominant (example if you take shield master you are pretty much stuck using a shield or that is wasted). Thematically, to me a fighter is the guy in the party you turn to talk about fighting. He might be a hulking guy wielding a Glaive but if you want tips on two-weapon fighting with daggers he is the best guy to talk to. If the galley you are riding on has a ballistae on it he knows how to use it.

I would prefer to add things to the basic class at level 5 a few ideas:

  • Proficiency with ANY weapon after spending an hour studying it (this includes things like siege weapons, catapults, ballistae as well as lasers or modern guns you find on a crashed spaceship)
  • Ability to bypass class and race restrictions for using weapons or armor. Pull out that staff of power!
  • Able to add proficiency bonus to any ability check about weaponry, martial arts, armor, armies or warfare.
  • Able to use their choice of strength or dexterity for attack and damage rolls for any weapon that does not have the heavy property.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I am not a fan.

It is not OP compared to the best wizards, but it is not inline with the flavor of a fighter IMO. It feels very 3E to me and will lock fighters into being even more narrow than they currently are. I would like changes that make Fighters broad in terms of martial abilities, guys that can use any weapon and use it well instead of things which make a particular build dominant (example if you take shield master you are pretty much stuck using a shield or that is wasted). Thematically, to me a fighter is the guy in the party you turn to talk about fighting. He might be a hulking guy wielding a Glaive but if you want tips on two-weapon fighting with daggers he is the best guy to talk to. If the galley you are riding on has a ballistae on it he knows how to use it.

I would prefer to add things to the basic class at level 5 a few ideas:

  • Proficiency with ANY weapon after spending an hour studying it (this includes things like siege weapons, catapults, ballistae as well as lasers or modern guns you find on a crashed spaceship)
  • Ability to bypass class and race restrictions for using weapons or armor. Pull out that staff of power!
  • Able to add proficiency bonus to any ability check about weaponry, martial arts, armor, armies or warfare.
  • Able to use their choice of strength or dexterity for attack and damage rolls for any weapon that does not have the heavy property.

I mean, all that stuff is flavorful (except the staff of power thing....that was just bizarre) but I don't see most of it actually making the fighter more effective at killing things, except in rare circumstances. Unless the DM puts you on a lot of galleys with ballistae or whatever. You could just add all of that as ribbons to the base fighter class.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I forgot to include "risk/reward" mechanics in my list, what you call "potential drawbacks". My favorite example is the Barbarian's Reckless Attack. Great mechanic.
Reckless Attack is a good example! I was also thinking of the Barbarian’s Frenzy - while the feature itself isn’t very good, the mechanic of gaining exhaustion after using it is a neat way to make it sort of 1/day, without having it be an actual resource you expend, and with the added ability to use it additional times in a pinch.
 

Staffan

Legend
I threw this out there in another thread and NOBODY RESPONDED. /sob

I started trying to design a Fighter subclass that had special moves that could be used infinitely, without consuming resources (X times/rest) but instead were gated situationally, or with an action/bonus action/reaction cost.
FWIW, that's more or less how the 13th Age fighter works. They have a number of special moves that they can trigger depending on the d20 attack roll.

I'm not sure how well that would translate to 5e though. In 13th age, weapon attacks deal 1 die/level damage (max level is 10), and you generally only get one attack per round. But in 5e, weapon damage itself is more or less static, and fighters deal extra damage at higher levels because they make more attacks. That would also give them more opportunities to trigger their special stuff. This may or may not be a good thing, but it's a thing one should consider.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
FWIW, that's more or less how the 13th Age fighter works. They have a number of special moves that they can trigger depending on the d20 attack roll.

I'm not sure how well that would translate to 5e though. In 13th age, weapon attacks deal 1 die/level damage (max level is 10), and you generally only get one attack per round. But in 5e, weapon damage itself is more or less static, and fighters deal extra damage at higher levels because they make more attacks. That would also give them more opportunities to trigger their special stuff. This may or may not be a good thing, but it's a thing one should consider.

Interesting idea. It’s another variant of situational mechanics, where the prerequisite “situation” is the fall of the die.

For the most part I don’t love it: it feels too abstract (“dissociative” some might say, although generally I don’t have a problem with mechanics that are thus disparagingly described) but also it gives the player no leeway to set up those situations. Not in the way that you might, for example, set up a situation where Shove becomes especially effective.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Maybe a Feat I'd like to add (for all classes....rogue and monk would benefit, too) would be:

Quick Reflexes
You may take an additional reaction, but only one reaction per turn. This feat can be taken multiple times.
Extra reactions would make things like reach broken, which turn out to be balanced in 5e because of the hard rule of only one reaction per round.

Reactions are cool conceptually, but the interruptions slow down gameplay.

Balancewise, it might be ok to spend the next action on a current extra reaction instead. Or get an extra reaction per short rest, or something like that.
 


NotAYakk

Legend
Threat:
A creature which willingly moves so it is no longer adjacent to you, or leaves your reach, is under threat by you until the end of your next turn. You have advantage on attacks on creatures under threat by you. The first time you hit a creature under threat by you your attack becomes a critical hit.

This is a reaction-less "more reactions". It does require tracking who is under threat.
 

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