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D&D General What does the mundane high level fighter look like? [+]


Arcadian Knight
Not too much, IDT, there can be more to combat than the race to 0hp, and hp are relative.
For instance, 4e fighters were defender role, and had class features to support that, while they might kill a monster in 4 rounds that an optimized striker could kill in 2, they could hold that monster's attention, keeping it off their allies, all 4 of those rounds, while the striker might bloody the same monster in one, and then it's past them, murdering an ally. Roles. 🤷‍♂️
Sure but as the fighter levels and even right away if the dm ignores some marks and similar things (i think he should), but in general after even moderate levels that fighter may be striker (in the optimizing community he is often considered such). Just saying there is nuance to that. Other defenders are less strikers though a Swordmage has a measure of controller options and so on. And the monk is a striker that absolutely has controller builds.
Also, TBF, in 4e there were Goblins, Gnolls, Ogres - and most other humanoids, and many other monsters - that had 1 hp.
The minion introduces a lot of differences that are not immediately obvious ... a cleave is hit one kill 2 maneuver ie things which do not do huge damage can be high impact. (at level 11 my fighter might be doing that as an opportunity attack 1 feat ... and opportunity attacks in 4e for a fighter are easily extremely accurate. And you get one per turn not per round. Talk about potentially being a blender. (with barely any design resources/choices). You do not want to rush passed that fighter ever.... but a DM letting the fghter show off a bit might well just do that for the fun.

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Arcadian Knight
I feel like this is one that isn't used enough. Through sheer willpower, a high level non-magical fighter, should be able to break conditions, exhaustion, and spells that target them.
I made a martial practice that was analogous to certain rituals (Run it off soldier), athletics to remove afflictions and some other long term effects normally only removable by ritual. A martial trained in diplomacy skill can induce this one in others too by coaching them through it.
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Two simple changes address much of the hp inflation issue:
  1. fighters at 5th level add their Proficiency Bonus to their weapon damage rolls
  2. Extra Attacks also increase the number of Reactions a fighter can take in a round
This ups a fighter's average damage per attack by about the same as a bonus die and it means they can sometimes use tactics to incite additional attacks.

Then the defense issue:
Indominable: At 9th level fighters can ignore the effects of statuses (excluding death, restrained and damage), for Proficiency Bonus rounds. 1/long rest at 9, 2/rest at 13, 3/rest at 17.

Exhaustion still accrues but the fighter ignores it until they keel over. They are still charmed, it's just temporarily suppressed. A spell may be inflicting psychic damage but doesn't cause them to run away. They may be blind but their other senses sharpen. A poison is still killing them but they ignore the weakness until they die.
Or Proficiency Bonus rounds have passed.

If we're talking about D&D 5e, an ability themed around "compulsion and fear", scheduled as the Channel Divinity feature for Clerics (at 2nd level you get 1 use per rest, 2 at 6th, 3 at 18th), and all bonus actions or reactions. Things like:

Compel Duel (bonus action): An enemy that can see or hear you and is proficient in Strength or Constitution Saving Throws must attack only you if it fails a Charisma Saving Throw. If an ally deals damage to it or affects it with a spell, the enemy makes another Charisma Saving Throw.

Strike Fear (bonus action): An enemy that can see or hear you and isn't proficient in Strength or Constitution Saving Throws must make a Charisma Saving Throw. If it fails, it must spend its next turn trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can't willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can't take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there's nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

Find Your Courage (reaction): As a reaction, you can allow an ally that can see or hear you and who failed a saving throw vs fear or the frightened condition to reroll the saving throw.

Mettle Is Contagious (bonus action): An ally that can see or hear you ignores Exhaustion levels 1-3 (Concentration).

Try-Hard Luminary (reaction): As a reaction, you can allow an ally that failed an Ability Check where you are not proficient in the skill to gain a bonus equal to your proficiency bonus. If the new total is enough to equal the DC, they succeed instead.


Well made a lvl 20 fighter design for my home brew. Not 5E.

Monster hp dramatically lower.
Proficient in all saves.
Higher level abilities broght forward to levels 1-10.
Extra attacks at lvl 5, 10, 15
Different xp rates. Fighters level up faster.

Looks like 5E but OSR influences. Monsters will regain some things from AD&D/3E.
Energy draining is returning for example but causes exhaustion.

Well, to start in my adapted AD&D:

Fighters gain +1 to attack per level and +(1 + Level/3) to damage. +1 to damage at 1st level, +2 at 4th, up to +5 at 12th. At 1st level they also have Smite (trade +1 attack for +1 damage, up to attack bonus), Parry (trade +1 attack for +1 AC, up to attack bonus), and Cleave (gain an extra attack for each foe dropped, up to their level in bonus attacks). At 4th level, with a +1 masterwork weapon, the minimum damage is typically 6 pts. This is the average hit points for a 1 HD creature. This conceivably allows the 4th level fighter to drop up to 5 lightly armored opponents per round. At 9th level with a magical weapon they are able to chew through considerable numbers of 2 and 3 HD creatures. This covers the "Indigo Montoya" effect.

Fighters gain extra attacks at 5th and 10th level. Non-fighter martials (Ranger, &c.) gain extra attacks at 6th and 11th and cleave once per two levels.

I have a number of fighting guilds / mystery cults for fighters. While the higher level mysteries are preternatural*, the lower level illuminations are either mundane or uncanny. I think this would translate to sub-classes for 5e; I developed them from the prestige class pattern. For example:

Scions of Merov, Way of the Manticore

Pick an ability at 3rd level and every third level thereafter.
Base advantage: Damage bonus is +(1 + Level/2)
Stigma: Hair grown to such length as to obscure the face.

A) Demoralizing Scream: At the first round of a combat, the scion can reveal their face and scream at an opponent. If they fail their save they are frightened of the scion. They attack at disadvantage and will not move towards the scion. This lasts for one round.

B) Tail Lash: Once per combat / 10 minutes the scion can throw a cluster of three knives. [Area similar to burning hands] Targets within the area take 2d4+2 damage. This is a bonus attack in addition to their usual attack action.

C) Pouncing Leap: Once per combat / 10 minutes the scion can jump 30 ft. forward or 15 ft. vertically and make an attack afterward.


At 12th level, all fighters can mow down "minion" level opponents. They have the option of learning up to 6 more special techniques of "The Riddle of Steel" such as Sniper (Smite for missile weapons), Sweeping Attack (One attack against 2-3 targets in a row next to you for minimal damage), &c. They also have the ability to pursue Siege Warfare (knowledge of use, tactics, logistics, and construction of siege engines), First Among Equals (build / capture a fort and gain an army), Speaker of the Way (gain a smaller, better trained squad of loyal followers), &c.

* Mundane --> Uncanny --> Preternatural --> Magical / Supernatural.
Mundane: Anybody can do this if trained.
Uncanny: Special people can do this if trained; top mundane performance in defiance of probability.
Preternatural: Highly trained special people can do this, might even detect as magic weakly, but not dispellable.
Magic: It's magic.
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Yeah. As a high level fighter, that’s end game stuff I’d envision. Master of reflex and key points and leverage.
But how do you represent that in D&D? The fighter mostly gains more HP and attack bonus as they level up. They would need parrying and pushing abilities to do what Mihawk did.

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