• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

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

Sacrosanct

Legend
@Sacrosanct Did you want to entertain fighter re-designs in this thread? Or do you prefer to keep it conversational with bits of design examples interspersed, but more conceptual than design-y?

I ask because I have a fighter rewrite - ongoing project that I’ve updated - which gets into both the exploration/roleplaying side of the fighter & the high-level mundane fighter. If that is beyond the scope of this thread, I can back burner it and share in its own thread (Later! Once there are fewer threads about fighters).
rewrites are totally fine. This is about what we'd like to see a high level mundane fighter look like.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

It's also worth, imo, thinking about a related question: What does a high level non-magical villain look like? What is the fighter version of the wizard. What is the fighter version of a lich? A high level solo enemy.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
It's also worth, imo, thinking about a related question: What does a high level non-magical villain look like? What is the fighter version of the wizard. What is the fighter version of a lich? A high level solo enemy.
The warlord from Volo's Guide IIRC is a CR 12 foe (i.e. comparable to the MM's archmage) that relies on lots of HP, Indomitable, Survivor trait from Champion, and Legendary Actions (attack, command ally, frighten foe).

I've always thought the fighter's Extra Attacks should follow cantrip progression (i.e. 5th, 11th, 17th instead of 5th, 11th, 20th as it is now), and introduce Legendary Actions of some shape or form for the 20th level fighter capstone.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
rewrites are totally fine. This is about what we'd like to see a high level mundane fighter look like.
Ok, I'm always a bit nervous about sharing homebrew stuff that's actively being playtested, but here's the fighter hack I wrote and have been testing out. Attached as PDF because it's 9 pages.

I do think that the higher levels need some work, but you'll see some things that carry into higher levels - more Heroic Deeds, Improved Fighting Styles, replacing Indomitable, and adjust Extra Attack to make room for Legendary capstone. It's very much still in the 5e design paradigm...though I've been sorely tempted to break out of that.

I've excluded lots of more detailed/messy design notes (which I keep in a separate document), but if you have questions about design thinking or why I did something, chances are I can offer at least a halfway decent answer. Right now just playtesting low levels though.

Here were my goals:

1. Non-combat Options: “Heroic Deeds” present class features focused on roleplay and exploration that embody your evolving story as you level.

2. Speed Up Combat: “Deathbringer” offers an incentive for the player to consolidate multiple attacks into one, helping to speed up combat and encouraging dramatic finishing blows. “Weapon Expertise” offers a similar option to consolidate attacks for a special effect.

3. Diversity of Play Styles: Players have different preferences for complexity level and play style with fighters. For example, a player desiring a simpler experience can ignore “Weapon Expertise” without losing any effectiveness, while a player desiring more complexity can find combos between “Weapon Expertise” and a Battle Master's maneuvers. “Iron Guard” allows for a variety of builds based on actions and reactions, not just Second Wind. “Warrior’s Multiattack” offers ways to emulate AD&D fighters and 4th edition defenders, alongside Action Surge.

4. Differentiate the Fighter: With other martial classes receiving Fighting Style and Extra Attack, it's hard to see the fighter’s uniqueness. “Weapon Expertise” makes weapon choice interesting and impactful for fighters. “Mastered Fighting Style” helps to distinguishes a fighter’s Fighting Style from that of other martial classes.

5. Fixes: There are gaps in the fighter’s progression at 2nd, 3rd, and 5th level compared to other martial classes, which my redesign addresses. (EDIT: You'll notice I removed the two extra feats from the core fighter as well to make room for some of the new features) Also, “Fortitude” replaces Indomitable (which is both inferior to monk’s Diamond Soul and feels hit-or-miss), mirroring the rogue’s Evasion feature.

6. Better Capstone: The 20th level “Extra Attack” is moved to 17th level, emulating cantrip damage. In its place, 20th level “Legendary” gives the fighter off-turn actions like a legendary monster.

EDIT: And reminding whoever reads this one more time – this is a playtest for my table (e.g. there are homebrew skills mentioned hence I gave this fighter +1 starting skill just like I did for all character classes). I didn't write this for you or your table. I don't know your table. Please don't infer or imply that any of this is prescriptive for the game overall or for your table. You know your table. I do not.
 

Attachments

  • Fighter hack_quickleaf.pdf
    2.5 MB · Views: 49
Last edited:


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I've always thought the fighter's Extra Attacks should follow cantrip progression (i.e. 5th, 11th, 17th instead of 5th, 11th, 20th as it is now), and introduce Legendary Actions of some shape or form for the 20th level fighter capstone.
My Theory for the reason why the last attack is 20th level is because WOTC could not think up of any high level feature or capstones for the fighter that the grognard heavy DNDN 2013 surveys would rate high.

In one of the old 2023 playtest, they toyed with dropping capstones to level 19 showing that it wasn't power related.

Really this topic only exists because as a whole, the D&D community can't agree what a fighter looks like after level 10. That's why WOTC just makes the base class and subclasses just give you more uses or bigger version of lower levels class features.
 


Not in my game. At the very least stuff like that gets abstracted out to see what happens based on the capabilities of the creatures involved.
So you roll for murder victims? Did you roll to see if they snuck up on them? Or roll to see how they leveled up as an assassin? Or how the knife was made? Probably not, unless you're also JMISBEST (whose threads do amuse me). Most DM's just declare stuff.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
So you roll for murder victims? Did you roll to see if they snuck up on them? Or roll to see how they leveled up as an assassin? Or how the knife was made? Probably not, unless you're also JMISBEST (whose threads do amuse me). Most DM's just declare stuff.
I avoid declaring stuff unless there's setting detail previously created to make that declaration reasonable.
 

Remove ads

Top