• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

Upgrading the Anti-Magic of Fighters and Barbarians

Stalker0

Adventurer
While 5th edition does some good work to reduce the gap between Martials and spellcasters, I find the gap is there nonetheless. The issue is that magic takes on more and more of the non-combat aspect of the game. Climb and Jump are replaced with Fly, overland travel replaced with Teleport. Investigation replaced with divination.

Now I accept that magic is just extremely versatile, so its an inevitability at some point. However, while I respect that martials have to stay somewhat "mortal", I don't think they get enough anti-magic abilities. If the wizard can summon amazing magics, a fighters should be able to knock it down because they are "just that awesome". A 20th level wizard can alter the fabric of reality, and yet should be sweating bullets in the presence of a 20th level fighter....for no magic can take down this epitome of martial prowess. The wizard owns the non-combat stuff, but nothing is more feared than the highest level warriors in melee.

So with that in mind, I have made some subtle yet important tweaks to two of the core fighting classes. I may do it with the other martials as well, but I wanted to get people thoughts on this to start. Ultimately some of these are big power boosts especially at the highest levels, but I feel that when spellcasters are chucking 8th and 9th level spells around, this is not that big a boost at all.


Fighter:Indomitable. At 9th level, a fighter can choose to automatically pass a saving throw they just failed. They can do this 1/day. At 13th level, the fighter can do this 2/day. The spell has no effect, and the fighter takes no damage. If faced with a spell that doesn't have a saving throw, the fighter can use this ability to ignore the spell's effects for 1 round. At 17th level, the fighter can use this ability 1/round, in addition to his daily uses.

--Commentary: So the idea here is to give the fighter some truly epic defenses against magic. Forcecage, walls of force? Bah...child's play to the blade that can cut elder demons and ancient dragons. So periodically the fighter just doesn't have to deal with magic. He goes where he must, and no wizard can stop him. And then at the point where wizard's are chucking wishes, the fighter gains a general immunity to various effects. Wizard alter reality if you wish, but bring your magics upon the greatest fighters in the land, and you will be sorry.


Barbarian: Brutal Critical. At 9th level, a barbarian gains 1 extra dice when doing a critical hit. Further, 1/day they can turn any regular hit into a critical. At 13th level, the barbarian can do this 2/day. If the ability is used to target a spell that is destroyed with a disintegrate effect, the spell is destroyed. At 17th level, the barbarian can use this ability 1/round, in addition to their daily uses.

--Commentary: So the barbarian goes a more offensive style of anti-magic. First, they get a more consitent offense with their crits, but now they can use them to break through forcecages and certain other protections that are normally invincible. They aren't as generally magic defensive as the fighter, but they can actually destroy certain forms of magic with their attacks.


So with this, we have martial warriors that are significantly stronger at the higher levels than their current incarnations...but I think is more fitting to stand next to the spellcasters controlling weather, communing with the gods, and altering reality with a thought.
 
Last edited:

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Doesn't really jive with what I'd want in a game but some good ideas nonetheless.
 

Li Shenron

Adventurer
Well, I was fine with unlimited Indomitable in 5e playtesting, so I am thinking the Fighter house rule should be interesting.

Not so keep on the Barbarian one, as the class already deals plenty of damage, and criticals will be used against everyone not just spellcasters.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
While 5th edition does some good work to reduce the gap between Martials and spellcasters, I find the gap is there nonetheless. The issue is that magic takes on more and more of the non-combat aspect of the game. Climb and Jump are replaced with Fly, overland travel replaced with Teleport. Investigation replaced with divination.
I have played twice up to about level 15-17.

In my experience Fly and divination plays a very small role. The Wizard is seldom attracted to the option of using her Concentration on the Fighter. (We haven't seen even a single round of Fly!) So I can safely say Climb and Jump remain relevant and useful for many many levels. Our martials love to increase their speed and equip items that allow longer jumps, faster climbs and swimming without checks etc. I'm talking ten levels easy - a most welcome change from how D&D in 3rd edition quickly became very superhero-like with everybody flying all over the place!

At really high levels, Teleport or Wind Walk become really convenient, but I wouldn't say that detracts from the Fighter experience, or makes casters feel more important.

Just to add my 2 cents.
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
Making a challenge for a high level figher/barbarian is already challenging enough. Good luck with these changes, they might be even more bored as literally nothing can challenge them in the combat pillar, while these changes do virtually nothing for the non-combat pillars, where they actually struggle.

I would say these changes are a solid no for me.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
Its not a bad idea, but I think that concentrating on abilities that give the martial classes equal spotlight time to casters out of combat is a more worthy goal.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Fighter:Indomitable. At 9th level, a fighter can choose to automatically pass a saving throw they just failed. They can do this 1/day. At 13th level, the fighter can do this 2/day. The spell has no effect, and the fighter takes no damage. If faced with a spell that doesn't have a saving throw, the fighter can use this ability to ignore the spell's effects for 1 round. At 17th level, the fighter can use this ability 1/round, in addition to his daily uses.
Just in terms of clarification does the auto-save only work for saves vs. spells? Or for any effect you save against. I think the second effect would be too ambiguous for me to use. A fighter can just walk through my wall of stone? See and attack me while I am ethereal? Be invulnerable to my summoned demon? What if I just plain teleported away, can he stop me?

The 1/round ability applies to the auto-save, or just the "ignore a spell" ability? Either way seems too strong to me.

Barbarian: Brutal Critical. At 9th level, a barbarian gains 1 extra dice when doing a critical hit. Further, 1/day they can turn any regular hit into a critical. At 13th level, the barbarian can do this 2/day. If the ability is used to target a spell that is destroyed with a disintegrate effect, the spell is destroyed. At 17th level, the barbarian can use this ability 1/round, in addition to their daily uses.
I might word it as "The barbarian can also expend one use of this ability and make a (melee?) weapon attack against a magical effect. If the magical effect can be destroyed by the disintegrate spell, then the effect is destroyed by the attack."

Again, is the 1/round just the disintegrate effect, or the turning any hit into a crit? The latter is I think too powerful, and the former I think not really necessary. (I think this is a nice ability, but how often will it come up?)
 

Quartz

Explorer
I would pull Indomitable as a plain reroll of a save forward to 5th level and make the fighter able to save against anything and make it once per short rest, in line with the fighter's other class powers. At 9th level make it 2 re-rolls per short rest or one automatic success (q.v. Legendary Resistance). An automatic success once per round is too powerful.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
Thank you for the replies so far. A few people noted the notion of "combat pillar is fine, its better to focus on the non-combat pillar".

Honestly though, I don't know where you would start there. The issue is always that martials are grounded by the notion of "reality", whereas at those levels magic is allowing more and more outright breaking of reality. So the attempt in this thread was to give the martials "fantastical power" against magic.

I agree that the fighter's high level indomitable is too vague. What I am trying to accomplish is give the fighter a chance against high level spells with no saves...because otherwise we are back where we started. One forcecage later and the fighter is completely nerfed....basically a wizard's plaything. That is the opposite of what I want to see, I want a wizard to take a gulp, worried that no matter what they do this "invincible warrior" is going to take them down.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Thank you for the replies so far. A few people noted the notion of "combat pillar is fine, its better to focus on the non-combat pillar".

Honestly though, I don't know where you would start there. The issue is always that martials are grounded by the notion of "reality", whereas at those levels magic is allowing more and more outright breaking of reality. So the attempt in this thread was to give the martials "fantastical power" against magic.

I agree that the fighter's high level indomitable is too vague. What I am trying to accomplish is give the fighter a chance against high level spells with no saves...because otherwise we are back where we started. One forcecage later and the fighter is completely nerfed....basically a wizard's plaything. That is the opposite of what I want to see, I want a wizard to take a gulp, worried that no matter what they do this "invincible warrior" is going to take them down.
Give weapon users the ability to interrupt spellcasting? Make it a Reaction in melee, Readied Action at range, that deal ability mod damage, and forces a concentration save. If they fail, they burn the slot to no effect. Probably only works against leveled spells.

And I’d make Barbarians resistant to magic, rather than fighters.

Mage Slayer is still very good, bc you get to make an actual attack, and any concentration save forced by your damage is made at disadvantage, but martials all have the ability to foil casters, even at the highest levels.

But honestly...I’m not sure it’s worth it.

I like the idea of giving fighters legendary saves, though. I’d also consider replacing the extra extra attacks with legendary actions, tbh.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Things you can do to boost martials out of combat:

Give all of them an additional skill training. Yes, even Rogue, and the half casters.

Give Fighters Expertise in 1 skill or tool at level 5, and another at level 11, and a third at level 16.

Give Barbarians half proficiency in non-proficient strength and con checks (lower level) and all non-proficient saves ( at mid or high level).

Give Rangers half-proficiency in untrained wisdom checks and ability to talk to animals.

Let them all add proficiency bonus to strength for calculating jumping, carrying, lifting, etc?

Encourage improvisation, and reward it.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
One forcecage later and the fighter is completely nerfed
True but your not putting your party’s fighter against your party’s wizard.

It’s true that Force Cage shuts things down; but it’s for taking out baddies- it’s not balanced for using on other PCs.

High level warriors pump out tons of damage in every round in every combat and that is the role they play in the party.

Wizards can banish that demon with one word but if a dm is only using encounters that a wizard completely short circuits they are doing it wrong.

A 20th level wizard can cast wish. A fighter can never do that: but a person plays a fighter because they enjoy getting into combat and battering baddies and if that happens in the game what does it matter if technically the wizard could kill the fighter easily in a duel?
 

5ekyu

Explorer
While 5th edition does some good work to reduce the gap between Martials and spellcasters, I find the gap is there nonetheless. The issue is that magic takes on more and more of the non-combat aspect of the game. Climb and Jump are replaced with Fly, overland travel replaced with Teleport. Investigation replaced with divination.

Now I accept that magic is just extremely versatile, so its an inevitability at some point. However, while I respect that martials have to stay somewhat "mortal", I don't think they get enough anti-magic abilities. If the wizard can summon amazing magics, a fighters should be able to knock it down because they are "just that awesome". A 20th level wizard can alter the fabric of reality, and yet should be sweating bullets in the presence of a 20th level fighter....for no magic can take down this epitome of martial prowess. The wizard owns the non-combat stuff, but nothing is more feared than the highest level warriors in melee.

So with that in mind, I have made some subtle yet important tweaks to two of the core fighting classes. I may do it with the other martials as well, but I wanted to get people thoughts on this to start. Ultimately some of these are big power boosts especially at the highest levels, but I feel that when spellcasters are chucking 8th and 9th level spells around, this is not that big a boost at all.


Fighter:Indomitable. At 9th level, a fighter can choose to automatically pass a saving throw they just failed. They can do this 1/day. At 13th level, the fighter can do this 2/day. The spell has no effect, and the fighter takes no damage. If faced with a spell that doesn't have a saving throw, the fighter can use this ability to ignore the spell's effects for 1 round. At 17th level, the fighter can use this ability 1/round, in addition to his daily uses.

--Commentary: So the idea here is to give the fighter some truly epic defenses against magic. Forcecage, walls of force? Bah...child's play to the blade that can cut elder demons and ancient dragons. So periodically the fighter just doesn't have to deal with magic. He goes where he must, and no wizard can stop him. And then at the point where wizard's are chucking wishes, the fighter gains a general immunity to various effects. Wizard alter reality if you wish, but bring your magics upon the greatest fighters in the land, and you will be sorry.


Barbarian: Brutal Critical. At 9th level, a barbarian gains 1 extra dice when doing a critical hit. Further, 1/day they can turn any regular hit into a critical. At 13th level, the barbarian can do this 2/day. If the ability is used to target a spell that is destroyed with a disintegrate effect, the spell is destroyed. At 17th level, the barbarian can use this ability 1/round, in addition to their daily uses.

--Commentary: So the barbarian goes a more offensive style of anti-magic. First, they get a more consitent offense with their crits, but now they can use them to break through forcecages and certain other protections that are normally invincible. They aren't as generally magic defensive as the fighter, but they can actually destroy certain forms of magic with their attacks.


So with this, we have martial warriors that are significantly stronger at the higher levels than their current incarnations...but I think is more fitting to stand next to the spellcasters controlling weather, communing with the gods, and altering reality with a thought.
"The issue is that magic takes on more and more of the non-combat aspect of the game."

If this is the issue, giving the martials more in-combat defenses and in-combat tricks does nothing to address it.

Honestly, after reading your opening paragraph where you set out your problems, the reasons a change us needed, I expected to see something like gains in "social tier" status at each change in tier - sort of a "leader" or "renown" thing to emphasize these types are easier for "most folks" to think of without say fearing their arcane magics.

Then again, I havent seen a game where investigation got replace by Divinations so, likely that opening paragraph was meant to show "I'm talking combat-wise here."
 

Larnievc

Explorer
If you don't allow the -5/+10 feats is that actually true? <Ducks rapidly>
A guy in the game I run has a 10th level half orc champion without that feat and out damages the others (we do have 6ish encounters between long rests, though). He crits like a motherfucker.

He just stands in front of the biggest mob and wails in it. He’s a grappler too; he enjoys tossing mooks off of bridges and cliffs.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Thank you for the replies so far. A few people noted the notion of "combat pillar is fine, its better to focus on the non-combat pillar".
How about this idea
Start by giving them the ability to perform heroic exertions where they expend that resource some call luck and energy or even representing straining themselves (or just ignore that for the daily number limit) and let them get an auto roll 20 on a skill check let them do it as many times a day as they have pluses in "expertise" perhaps. Give fighters expertise in athletics automatically at level 6.

Since the die roll is king for them outside of combat and hit points arent really doing them much good if its a non combat sort of scenario and they will be reticent to use in combat. But still very much can.
 

Advertisement

Top