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

Joshy

Explorer
Change Fighting Style so that it is no longer a choice. You just get different benefits based on what you are wielding.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Change Fighting Style so that it is no longer a choice. You just get different benefits based on what you are wielding.

Interesting.

I also thought about "stances" that you can switch between.

EDIT: I'll add, though, that most fighting styles are totally passive. You get various bonuses, but you take the same actions you'd take without them. (The only exception is Protection, and that consumes a reaction.). I was interested in a designing a sub-class that actually lets you do cool things.
 

Joshy

Explorer
Interesting.

I also thought about "stances" that you can switch between.

EDIT: I'll add, though, that most fighting styles are totally passive. You get various bonuses, but you take the same actions you'd take without them. (The only exception is Protection, and that consumes a reaction.). I was interested in a designing a sub-class that actually lets you do cool things.
I made a few classes based around weapon styles. They each have two stances and four abilities. I'm working on consolidating them into a single class.
 

Staffan

Legend
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.
Here's how I see it: if you can do Cool Stuff all day long, said Stuff can't be all that Cool. If you want the Really Cool Stuff, there has to be some limit on how often you can use it, or you'll just use it all the time and then it just becomes silly and routine. For example, see the 3e fighter specializing in Spiked Chain, Combat Reflexes and Improved Trip, who'll knock down anyone getting near him and then step away. When the opponent stands up, they get another smack, and can't full-attack the fighter. That being as good a tactic as it is (even though there are counters) is silly, and the main problem is that it's an unlimited-use thing. Or, to use a 5e example, since getting into position to use the Rogue's Sneak attack is super easy, barely an inconvenience, it can't be all that strong. And indeed, a sneak attacking rogue deals more or less the same damage as an offense-focused fighter.

So, if you don't want people to do that kind of thing all the time, you need to put some limit on it. For example, you could limit the Cool Stuff by making it a limited resource. This is the path taken by 4e, where Cool Stuff is either an encounter power or a daily power, and by the 5e Battlemaster which limits the Cool Stuff by using superiority dice. But for some things, that can feel artificial, so instead you want to limit it situationally. But combat is fluid, and D&D abstracts a fair bit of it away. So using the attack roll as the trigger for what Cool Stuff you can do represents what openings you get to do your stuff.
 

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.
I don't think that it would be problematic. There are plenty of spells that take effect when an enemy moves into their area and saves/damage interrupt the flow.
It would act like a less-powerful version of Spirit Guardians in effect, with smaller area and no slowing effect. If you feel that is too powerful for a martial class to be able to do at low levels, you could lock it behind level 6 maybe.

Giving a number of extra reactions equal to number of Extra Attacks is a commonly suggested tweak.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I don't think that it would be problematic. There are plenty of spells that take effect when an enemy moves into their area and saves/damage interrupt the flow.
It would act like a less-powerful version of Spirit Guardians in effect, with smaller area and no slowing effect. If you feel that is too powerful for a martial class to be able to do at low levels, you could lock it behind level 6 maybe.

Giving a number of extra reactions equal to number of Extra Attacks is a commonly suggested tweak.
The concerns about reaction bloat apply to everyone, mage and warrior alike.

In 3e, the brokenness of reach prevented Large player character concepts, despite their centrality in many reallife traditions.

In 5e, there have been no complaints about reach. The main reason for the 5e balance of reach turns out to be the limit of only one reaction per turn, which thus trivializes opportunity attacks by preventing multiple simultaneous ones.

Relatedly, the limit to one reaction helps each turn within a round flow quicker to the next turn.
 

Staffan

Legend
In 5e, there have been no complaints about reach. The main reason for the 5e balance of reach turns out to be the limit of only one reaction per turn, which thus trivializes opportunity attacks by preventing multiple simultaneous ones.
I think the main limit on reach in 5e is that you only get opportunity attacks when foes leave your reach. In 3e and 4e, you get them when opponents leave a threatened square – which means you get a free hit on anyone who approaches you. That's not the default state in 5e, and instead requires a feat (Polearm Mastery) plus using specific weaponry.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I think the main limit on reach in 5e is that you only get opportunity attacks when foes leave your reach. In 3e and 4e, you get them when opponents leave a threatened square – which means you get a free hit on anyone who approaches you. That's not the default state in 5e, and instead requires a feat (Polearm Mastery) plus using specific weaponry.
Notice how character optimization views Polearm Mastery as more powerful than most feats because of its additional attacks. Extra reactions are likewise unevenly more powerful, and more useful.
 

ehren37

Legend
I added the Champion's benefits to the fighter and give a fighting style every 2 levels from 5+. Probably still underpowered for 10+ but at least you fight appreciably better than a paladin.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The concerns about reaction bloat apply to everyone, mage and warrior alike.

In 3e, the brokenness of reach prevented Large player character concepts, despite their centrality in many reallife traditions.

In 5e, there have been no complaints about reach. The main reason for the 5e balance of reach turns out to be the limit of only one reaction per turn, which thus trivializes opportunity attacks by preventing multiple simultaneous ones.

Relatedly, the limit to one reaction helps each turn within a round flow quicker to the next turn.

Again, could you describe a specific scenario that illustrates why you think two reactions would be problematic?

I can think of lots of scenarios where a character might get to make two opportunity attacks between their turns, but:
a) it would not happen every round, and probably not even every battle, and maybe not even every session
b) one extra opportunity attack, occurring occasionally, is not game-breaking
c) my proposal was that getting that extra reaction costs a feat (or ASI) so there's a pretty hefty cost to being able to do it

But maybe I'm missing something obvious.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
FWIW, just to jump in quickly, two reactions isn't a problem. We've been using a feat called "Reactive" for over a year now:

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No issues, works great.

Jumping back out now. ;)
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
The reaction is a "deep" mechanic, that other mechanics rely on. The consequences of increasing their frequency can be unforeseen.

I am moreso coming from a perspective of caution. Also I note historical issues relating to it.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The reaction is a "deep" mechanic, that other mechanics rely on. The consequences of incteasing their frequency can be unforeseen.

I am moreso coming from a perspective of caution. Also I note historical issues relating to it.

Ok, well, duly noted. But I don't really find that to be a compelling argument.

If you yet think of a specific scenario I'd love to hear it.
 

ECMO3

Hero
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.
The whole point is to make the fighter more of a generalist in weaponry and less of a specialized build. It makes the fighter much broader.

Most of them are ribbons, but they speak to what the fighter class should be about IMO, and what it was about back in 1E. In the original 1E only fighters and Thieves with the assasin subclass could use any weapons. And it said "any" not martial or anything like that.

In the example I gave he can use dexterity for a longsword. He can use strength for a hand crossbow. But he can't do that with a glaive or a longbow respectively as they are heavy weapons. He can also use that wierd weapon that Koa-Toa monitors carry or a flindbar, and no other class can ... and he can do it with either dexterity or strength.

When your fighter has GWM and PAM and GWF and you find a vorpal shortsword or a staff of the adder, that kind of sucks for him. Same if he has shield master and dueling and you find a vorpal greatsword or if he takes piercer and dual wielder and you find a maul of the titans.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
When your fighter has GWM and PAM and GWF and you find a vorpal shortsword or a staff of the adder, that kind of sucks for him. Same if he has shield master and dueling and you find a vorpal greatsword or if he takes piercer and dual wielder and you find a maul of the titans.

Yes, that's true. And, again, you don't have to take any of those feats.

Sounds to me like your beef is not with this specific subclass idea, but with WotC's design goal for the Fighter itself.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Yes, that's true. And, again, you don't have to take any of those feats.

Sounds to me like your beef is not with this specific subclass idea, but with WotC's design goal for the Fighter itself.
The actual design goal is debatable. Thematically what WOTC says in the description is exactly what I would like to see, and in games I play to be honest that is what most of the PC fighters are - generalist fighters. We have an occasional GWM or PAM but they are a distinct minority.

In terms of mechanics, you can build a very flexible fighter RAW if you do things like use a 10 constitution (or 12 absolute max), run a high strength and high dexterity (16 and 14 or vice versa) and good/decent I/W/CH stats. That is a totally doable and playable build and there are subclass features that play into and help that kind of build. In play that kind of fighter is A LOT better than a max damage build IME.

Here on the message boards though most Fighter builds are tricked out narrow "optimized" builds. When it comes to a fighter (and a lessor extent Barbarian) "optimized" really means optimal in one narrowly defined situation if you have the right gear to go with it and bad in just about every other respect. I would like class features that encourage broader builds and the "ribbons" I mentioned mostly do that.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
The actual design goal is debatable. Thematically what WOTC says in the description is exactly what I would like to see, and in games I play to be honest that is what most of the PC fighters are - generalist fighters. We have an occasional GWM or PAM but they are a distinct minority.

In terms of mechanics, you can build a very flexible fighter RAW if you do things like use a 10 constitution (or 12 absolute max), run a high strength and high dexterity (16 and 14 or vice versa) and good/decent I/W/CH stats. That is a totally doable and playable build and there are subclass features that play into and help that kind of build. In play that kind of fighter is A LOT better than a max damage build IME.

Here on the message boards though most Fighter builds are tricked out narrow "optimized" builds. When it comes to a fighter (and a lessor extent Barbarian) "optimized" really means optimal in one narrowly defined situation if you have the right gear to go with it and bad in just about every other respect. I would like class features that encourage broader builds and the "ribbons" I mentioned mostly do that.

Sounds interesting. If you start a thread on the topic I’ll give it a read.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Better idea... kill all wizards. Now fighter is better. So is wizards. Ha. Ha.

TLDR:
View attachment 155286

I know this was meant in jest, but I’ll add that when I used “better” I really just meant “more fun and varied to play.” I wasn’t talking about a perceived power balance relative to wizards.

I see three main complaints about fighters:
1. They don’t scale as well as wizards do.
2. They can’t do unrealistically epic things.
3. It gets boring to just say “I attack” every turn.

I was really only addressing #3. I should have specified that.
 

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