5E Support oriented Fighting Styles

Xeviat

Explorer
Hi everyone. I'm rather late to the party, but I finally started watching Mike Mearls's "Happy Fun Hour". It's a great series on YouTube to get insight into the early stages of the design process. In a set of episodes, he worked on a Warlord as a Fighter subclass (and incidentally, talked about why we didn't get a Warlord full class: because they couldn't imagine making a dozen subclasses for it, which I now agree with). One part of his steps on the design was mentioning that it was a shame the Fighter had to wait till 3rd level to get their subclass, as it made it so a Warlord Fighter would be "just a regular fighter" until 3rd level. He mentions that Fighting Style could offer an opportunity to give the 1st level Fighter a more leader/support focus.

Then he doesn't end up talking about it.

Now, we've seen in the recent UA article some new fighting styles. Most of them were offense oriented (striker role!), but we did get one defense oriented one (that I like more than the Protection style in the PHB), and some basically non-combative cantrip ones. What we haven't gotten was a support/leader oriented fighting style. But what could one be?

The first idea that comes to mind is this:

Lead the Attack
When you make an attack against a target on your turn, your allies gain a +1 bonus to attack until the start of your next turn.

I'm not 100% sold on it, but if bless's +1d4 doesn't bog down the game, then I don't think a +1 to hit bonus will.

What do you think? What are your ideas?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Lead the Attack
When you make an attack against a target on your turn, your allies gain a +1 bonus to attack until the start of your next turn.
I basically thought of the same exact one and the affects all allies part is the right flavor for a Warlord.
That said I did consider one that affected only the next attack including your own but that one was Int or Wis bonus damage? Bigger number being more noticeable just like the d4 die is more noticeable

That he didnt follow through is almost as annoying as the decided lack of imagination with regards to possible types of Warlord.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
I basically thought of the same exact one and the affects all allies part is the right flavor for a Warlord.
That said I did consider one that affected only the next attack including your own but that one was Int or Wis bonus damage? Bigger number being more noticeable just like the d4 die is more noticeable

That he didnt follow through is almost as annoying as the decided lack of imagination with regards to possible types of Warlord.
I only didn't want to do something with like +Int to something because it would be unbalanced compared to the other fighting styles. Remember, we have +2 damage (duelist), +Stat damage (two-weapon), and +1.33 damage (great weapon) ... wait a minute. Two-Weapon gives +Stat to damage, and it's your prime stat. So +Int to an ally's damage wouldn't be unbalanced, if it only applied to their next attack.

As for lack of imagination with regards to possible warlords ... which would you make? Just copying the 4E, we'd have Tactical, Inspiring, Insightful, Brave, and Artillery?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I only didn't want to do something with like +Int to something because it would be unbalanced compared to the other fighting styles. Remember, we have +2 damage (duelist), +Stat damage (two-weapon), and +1.33 damage (great weapon) ... wait a minute. Two-Weapon gives +Stat to damage, and it's your prime stat. So +Int to an ally's damage wouldn't be unbalanced, if it only applied to their next attack.
Yes only one next attack whoever makes it... Int or Wis (though wis is a strong save) are not even primes so much more possible than it first looks. (heck it could be next two attacks without being imbalanced)

@Tony Vargas made a post which included a good number of examples not very long ago.
 
I basically thought of the same exact one and the affects all allies part is the right flavor for a Warlord.
That said I did consider one that affected only the next attack including your own but that one was Int or Wis bonus damage? Bigger number being more noticeable just like the d4 die is more noticeable
5e scales damage more than attack, so you could add any 'more noticeable numbers' there.

That he didnt follow through is almost as annoying as the decided lack of imagination with regards to possible types of Warlord.
Lack of imagination would be failing to come up with a 9th potential warlord sub-class after the Inspiring, Tactical, Bravura, Resourceful, Skirmishing, Insightful, Archery, and "Lazy" versions we already had in 4e. Y'know, like wrecan's Hector, which would no longer need be held back to avoid stepping on the controller role.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The sad bit is that the Warlord could be going further and doing more than it did in 4e, and yes I rather like the Happy Fun Hour idea. There might be more doable with a base class and some seem certain of it but I do have a bit of nostalgia for the the tactical/strategic Warrior being the Fighter as given a nod to by 2e. And Mearles Happy Fun Hour implementation I certainly would like to see fully finished even if a specialist class was done for say Birthright campaign book :p I am not holding breath.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
5e scales damage more than attack, so you could add any 'more noticeable numbers' there.

Lack of imagination would be failing to come up with a 9th potential warlord sub-class after the Inspiring, Tactical, Bravura, Resourceful, Skirmishing, Insightful, Archery, and "Lazy" versions we already had in 4e. Y'know, like wrecan's Hector, which would no longer need be held back the need to avoid stepping on the controller role.
Its 5e D&D how about a Mage Lord... with a minor specializes in support of magical archetypes.

Perhaps a Berserker Lord who was able to drive his allies into a group psychosis at one point

These subclasses are so narrow really they are pretty much just a build.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Thaneborn, sure.
Its been a huge amount of time but I seem to recall the very intelligent martial type and bearer of the Sword of Truth had some sort of bloodline gift associated with that make a whole squad of followers berserk. (not even thinking it related to the sword as much as him personally) but my memory is fuzzy wuzzy and the excuse magic did it was readily available.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
... wait a minute. Two-Weapon gives +Stat to damage, and it's your prime stat. So +Int to an ally's damage wouldn't be unbalanced, if it only applied to their next attack.
We could name this one Opening Stroke and the other Leading Strike.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Someone else I think it was @UngeheuerLich posted an idea for a pretty elaborate Fighting Style that captured the Warlords spurring his allies to faster response with initiative bonuses.

Though the UA had a maneuver for Ambushing... that somehow reminded me
 
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Todd Roybark

Explorer
I always wanted to see a Warlord flavor Barbarian subclass...because the Phrase “Barbarian Warlord” just trips off the tongue.

Plus the 1e class could summon a Barbarian Horde, which also pleases my
lingua.

A Battle Master Fighter with the Inspiring Leader Feat is fairly Warlord-esque
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
LOL...I think we are on the same page Garthanos...in my Experimental Rules Group game....HP stands for Hero Points and is a basic physical action resource in the game, you actually spend HP to attack, and your Wound Points is your Con. Suddenly Temp HPs are not just a mystical shield......it is early days, but the rules are holding up so far.

5e, honestly has very little that “buffs” the whole party, Bardic Inspiration is just one person after all. Magic Initiate - Cleric for Bane or Bless and the Guidance Cantrip can give you a bit more flavor ( and effect).
 
One part of his steps on the design was mentioning that it was a shame the Fighter had to wait till 3rd level to get their subclass
This is the kind of thought which I call "pre-coffee morning idea", meaning something that definitely makes sense BUT is delivered before recalling the bigger picture and considering pros and cons. In fact, the norm of 5e subclasses it not to start at 1st level, because they already represent a step forward specialization. Some classes (Cleric, Sorcerer, Warlock) get it at 1st level only because the subclass also represents the origin or source of their power from a narrative point of view (as in, how could it not be defined since the start who is your patron or deity?).

If it wasn't for that, all classes would have got their subclass after 1st level, so as to leave room for an "apprentice" time. The opposite can in fact also be said, that it's a shame you are forced to choose e.g. a Wizard subclass before you had at least some time to grasp how magic works (both from the player's and character's point of view). Now, if people after 5 years are now bored of the apprentice tier, they should just start a campaign at level 3, instead of complaining about what they asked for.

What do you think? What are your ideas?
The latest Unearthed Arcana just nailed it perfectly with the Superior Technique fighting style! It's an awesome idea on so many levels:

  • it integrates perfectly with the (super simple) framework of Fighting Styles
  • it allows to use more often one of the best mechanics of the game (Superiority Dice)
  • it's an option i.e. a choice, not a free enhancement
  • Maneuvers can be easily expanded adding more, and going to different directions

With this Superior Technique option, you can immediately earn one Warlord-style maneuver from the PHB list at 1st level. Then you can choose Battlemaster at 3rd to learn more, but you can also choose any different subclass and get more Warlord-style maneuvers by spending a feat on Martial Adept.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Hi everyone. I'm rather late to the party, but I finally started watching Mike Mearls's "Happy Fun Hour". It's a great series on YouTube to get insight into the early stages of the design process. In a set of episodes, he worked on a Warlord as a Fighter subclass (and incidentally, talked about why we didn't get a Warlord full class: because they couldn't imagine making a dozen subclasses for it, which I now agree with). One part of his steps on the design was mentioning that it was a shame the Fighter had to wait till 3rd level to get their subclass, as it made it so a Warlord Fighter would be "just a regular fighter" until 3rd level. He mentions that Fighting Style could offer an opportunity to give the 1st level Fighter a more leader/support focus.

Then he doesn't end up talking about it.

Now, we've seen in the recent UA article some new fighting styles. Most of them were offense oriented (striker role!), but we did get one defense oriented one (that I like more than the Protection style in the PHB), and some basically non-combative cantrip ones. What we haven't gotten was a support/leader oriented fighting style. But what could one be?

The first idea that comes to mind is this:

Lead the Attack
When you make an attack against a target on your turn, your allies gain a +1 bonus to attack until the start of your next turn.

I'm not 100% sold on it, but if bless's +1d4 doesn't bog down the game, then I don't think a +1 to hit bonus will.

What do you think? What are your ideas?
Take protection fighting style and you can be pretty supportive to your casters, also battle master has several supportive maneuvers, a paladin still has some aura.
Think about the action economy, a character who uses his action purely to support some other character should grant some big advantage, because he is not dishing out himself in that round.
A cleric casting a bless spell is one of the best supports imho. It takes only one of his actions and hopefully he can keep concentration.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
LOL...I think we are on the same page Garthanos...in my Experimental Rules Group game....HP stands for Hero Points and is a basic physical action resource in the game, you actually spend HP to attack, and your Wound Points is your Con. Suddenly Temp HPs are not just a mystical shield......it is early days, but the rules are holding up so far.
Sounds very intriguing. Yes I certainly have considered something nigh identical thinking HP as hero points and HS is heroic surge.

The Warlord is Arguably the Action Spark and Team Coordinator Class.

I have seen help other action implementations of the Warlord. Help Action now doable at Range because he teaches the party silent battlefield signals. Help action with some resource now affects multiple allies. Help action as a bonus action or even reaction because he is aware of those around him instead of being totally focused.

Mearles Happy Fun Time Warlord conceptually actually captures many elements of the Warlord not too badly though.
 
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