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D&D 5E "Slayer" fighter archetype

dave2008

Legend
One of the thing we do to make fighters better fighters then other classes is to give them more OA triggers than other classes/creatures have. This works well for all fighters IMO, but I have always wanted fighters to be the best melee damage dealers, but never really had a good idea to implement this.

So what I am currently thinking about providing a "Slayer" subclass that adds its proficiency bonus to the damage of its attacks. However, I am not good a designing player options and was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to balance this a bit. To be clear, I am trying to make this subclass the clear leader in melee damage.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Here is my first attempt (thank you to @vincegetorix for some suggestions):

Slayer
Some text describing the slayer here.

Slayer Features
Fighter LevelFeature
2ndBrutal Surge
3rdVital Strikes
7thCombat Reflexes
10thSlayer's Opportunity
15thInexorable Strike
18thCascade of Steel

Brutal Surge
When you would use an Action Surge to gain an additional attack, you can instead double the damage of one attack. You can do this for each additional attack provided by your Action Surge. You must make this choice before you make your attack roll.

Vital Strikes
Starting at 3rd level, you are trained to strike your opponent's vitals. Whenever you hit with a melee weapon that your proficient with and deal damage, the weapon's damage increases by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus.

Combat Reflexes
Starting at 7th level, you can make an Attack of Opportunity without spending your reaction. You can do this a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus. Additionally, you can make attacks of opportunity against enemies that make ranged attacks, cast spells, or stand from the Prone position within your reach.

Slayer's Opportunity
Whenever a creature you have successfully intimidated provokes an opportunity attack from you, it is vulnerable to damage you deal to it until the end of its next turn.

Inexorable Strike
No effect, ability, or condition can reduce the damage of your melee weapon attacks, or turn your critical hits into normal hits. When you make a critical hit with a melee weapon, the target cannot regain hit points until the start of your next turn. A creature brought to 0 hp by a melee weapon attack you are proficient with is instantly killed.

Cascade of Steel
Starting at 18th level, when you make an Attack of Opportunity without spending your reaction, you can make a number of attacks equal to your extra attack feature.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I'd take the Brute as a base but change later features to be something like:

Combat Reflex: You can make an AoO without using a reaction prof. per long rest.

Cascade of Steel: When you make an AoO, you can make a number of attacks equals to the number of attacks you make when taking the Attack action.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Deadly Critical
Starting at 15th level, when you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, if the target has less than 50 hit points, it dies.

I'd consider allowing a saving throw and making it "bloodied" (below 50% hps) rather than straight 50 points.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Ok, I have added a draft of the subclass to the OP. Thank you to @vincegetorix for their suggestions.
Reaaaaallyyyy not sure with the superior technique feature, I fear its kinda pigeonholing the subclass into a precise niche.

I'd go with something for out-of-combat use, maybe something like this:

Slayer's mien: When you are wielding a weapon, any Charisma (Persuasion) or Charisma (Intimidation) roll can never be lower than your Strength score.
 

dave2008

Legend
I'd consider allowing a saving throw and making it "bloodied" (below 50% hps) rather than straight 50 points.
That is a possibility. Power Word Kill was the inspiration, which doesn't allow a save ( or an attack roll even). So this is similar, but not as powerful and requires a crit.

To me bloodied seems a bit to powerful, even with a save.
 

dave2008

Legend
Reaaaaallyyyy not sure with the superior technique feature, I fear its kinda pigeonholing the subclass into a precise niche.

I'd go with something for out-of-combat use, maybe something like this:

Slayer's mien: When you are wielding a weapon, any Charisma (Persuasion) or Charisma (Intimidation) roll can never be lower than your Strength score.
True, it was a riff on the Brute's "Additional Fighting Style" at this level. I will say that part of the conceit of this subclass is that it is pigeonholed a bit. It is supposed to be the best melee damage dealer, at the expense of all else. However, I do like your Slayer's Mien idea. Though I would probably limit it to Intimidation checks.
 


Horwath

Hero

Stalker0

Legend
Brutal surge: if I’m reading this right, starting at 5th level you’ll be giving up two attacks to double the damage of one. That seems a terrible trade.

combat reflexes: maybe other people see way more OAs than I do…but frankly I don’t think this would be OP as an unlimited ability.
 

dave2008

Legend
Brutal surge: if I’m reading this right, starting at 5th level you’ll be giving up two attacks to double the damage of one. That seems a terrible trade.
First, brutal surge is an option, it doesn't replace your action surge. However, why do you think it is a terrible trade. It is the same damage and basically the same to hit probability.
combat reflexes: maybe other people see way more OAs than I do…but frankly I don’t think this would be OP as an unlimited ability.
Well, it also expands the list of things that provoke AoO.
 

First, brutal surge is an option, it doesn't replace your action surge. However, why do you think it is a terrible trade. It is the same damage and basically the same to hit probability.
It is bad, because you now only have a single chance to hit or miss. It is an all or nothing option, that might be ok, if you somehow get advantage on a single attack only.
The problem is however, that you give up up to 4 attacks to double damage on a single strike.
Maybe if you word it:
- you can use your action surge to double all damage from every attack you make during your current turn.
That at least helps you keep the same average damage. It is also a real advantage if you have access to a bonus action attack. Overall that should be a good option, especially if the campaign uses the optional rule to cleave, if you instantly bring an enemy from full to zero.

The autokill on a crit below 50hp is also not really a useful ability.
A crit at that level, especially if combined with the action surge should do about 50 damage anyway.... So the treshold is a bit low. It is also disappointing, if you roll high for damage and then notice that you had killed the monster automatically.

In 4e the executioner had a neat ability to kill the enemy if it was reduced to 20 hp or less instead of 0.
So I propose to change it to: if a critical hit from a weapon reduces the enemy's hp to 25 hp or less, the attack deals 50 extra damage of a type the weapon can deal.

(50 damage, because it should go through resistance, also just damage, because it should no invalidate abilities that trigger at 0 hp).
 

Stalker0

Legend
The problem is however, that you give up up to 4 attacks to double damage on a single strike.

The autokill on a crit below 50hp is also not really a useful ability.
A crit at that level, especially if combined with the action surge should do about 50 damage anyway.... So the treshold is a bit low. It is also disappointing, if you roll high for damage and then notice that you had killed the monster automatically.
To the first one, exactly.

To the second....eh not quite. So a THF at that level is doing 2d6 + 11 (5 str + 6 from vital strike) + 2 (lets say a +2 weapon).

So 2d6 + 13, or 4d6 + 13 on a crit, for about 29 average damage (if we factor in the THF combat style). So a standard crit is nearly doubled in strength....pretty solid....and that is for THF. If I'm the more standard sword board: 1d8 + 15 (dueling style) = 2d8 +15 on crit = 24 average damage, so just a little over double damage.

Yes it does mean the double damage on brutal surge is wasted, but as a base ability is not bad. However, I do think the ability needs a slight clarity. Is it 50 hp before the crit damage is applied, or after? I am assuming its the former, as the later would be kind of crazy, but I could see people reading it as the latter.

Let me offer a different idea for brutal surge:

Brutal Surge: When using action surge, you may maximize the weapon damage of 1 attack.

This gives you consistent power without breaking BA, allows you to gain a benefit without trading, and works more seemlessly with the deadly crit ability (even at max 4d6 +13 = 37, so the deadly crit still gives you benefit even on the brutal surge).

Only possible issue here is a multiclass with rogue/paladin, where a brutal surge + crit + SA/Smite could equal to incredible damage. Then again action surge already combos really well with lots of classes anyway.
 

dave2008

Legend
It is bad, because you now only have a single chance to hit or miss. It is an all or nothing option, that might be ok, if you somehow get advantage on a single attack only.
The problem is however, that you give up up to 4 attacks to double damage on a single strike.
Clearly my wording is poor, because that is not the intent. The idea is that instead of taking 4 attacks, you take 2 that each do double damage. Or, 1 that does double damage and 2 normal attacks. I will think about how I can clean up the language.
The autokill on a crit below 50hp is also not really a useful ability.
A crit at that level, especially if combined with the action surge should do about 50 damage
Action surge has nothing to do with it. If a monster has 75 HP and your first 3 attacks take it below 50 and your 4th attack is a crit - it is dead.
anyway.... So the treshold is a bit low. It is also disappointing, if you roll high for damage and then notice that you had killed the monster automatically.

In 4e the executioner had a neat ability to kill the enemy if it was reduced to 20 hp or less instead of 0.
So I propose to change it to: if a critical hit from a weapon reduces the enemy's hp to 25 hp or less, the attack deals 50 extra damage of a type the weapon can deal.

(50 damage, because it should go through resistance, also just damage, because it should no invalidate abilities that trigger at 0 hp).
I appreciate your suggestion, but I don't really find that an improvement. I guess we are just looking at this differently. Thank you for taking the time to review and comment!
 

dave2008

Legend
To the first one, exactly.
That is not the intent. replace 2 attacks with 1 attack that does 2x damage was the intent. So you could attack twice at 2x damage if you would have 4 attacks with action surge.
To the second....eh not quite. So a THF at that level is doing 2d6 + 11 (5 str + 6 from vital strike) + 2 (lets say a +2 weapon).

So 2d6 + 13, or 4d6 + 13 on a crit, for about 29 average damage (if we factor in the THF combat style). So a standard crit is nearly doubled in strength....pretty solid....and that is for THF. If I'm the more standard sword board: 1d8 + 15 (dueling style) = 2d8 +15 on crit = 24 average damage, so just a little over double damage.

Yes it does mean the double damage on brutal surge is wasted, but as a base ability is not bad. However, I do think the ability needs a slight clarity. Is it 50 hp before the crit damage is applied, or after? I am assuming its the former, as the later would be kind of crazy, but I could see people reading it as the latter.
I did think about this, but didn't really decide. I was hoping to get someone's opinion and now you have!
Let me offer a different idea for brutal surge:

Brutal Surge: When using action surge, you may maximize the weapon damage of 1 attack.

This gives you consistent power without breaking BA, allows you to gain a benefit without trading, and works more seemlessly with the deadly crit ability (even at max 4d6 +13 = 37, so the deadly crit still gives you benefit even on the brutal surge).

Only possible issue here is a multiclass with rogue/paladin, where a brutal surge + crit + SA/Smite could equal to incredible damage. Then again action surge already combos really well with lots of classes anyway.
Thank you for the suggestion. I do like your idea, but that is not what I am going for with this feature. I will give it another pass.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Action surge has nothing to do with it. If a monster has 75 HP and your first 3 attacks take it below 50 and your 4th attack is a crit - it is dead.
His point was, if I am using my double damage power, and happen to crit on it, I may do more than 50 damage anyway and so the ability is "wasted". This could also happen with multiclassing with classes that get "big crits" like paladins or rogues

That is not the end of the world, but it does weaken the ability some.
 

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