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

Quickleaf

Legend
@Quickleaf, I don't know how much 5e D&D play takes place at 20th level, so I don't know how important balance considerations are. But to me it seems the most natural fighter equivalent to Stroke of Luck is Stroke of Death: once per rest, your attack kills the creature you strike.

Well, I think balance considerations are important enough that this would be utterly bonkers, and I'm pretty sure not fun to most players either to big boss monsters always getting killed this way.

One thing I miss from 4e is the bloodied value. It was handy for keying all sorts of mechanics into.* For example fighter could have a feature that if they dealt at least the enemy's bloodies value's worth of damage with one strike, it would be an insta kill. And if you wanted to make this even more powerful, you could accompany it with the ability to choose to do one powerful strike instead of many regular ones.

*Now you can of course just refer to "half the hit point maximum" but as that is not a value that actually is written anywhere in the statblocks it is a bit more awkward.

Replying to you both, cause my mind linked your comments. Yes, I think you're honing in on something that relates to the undercurrent of the conversation – that 5th edition is microtransactional. At 20th level, I think it's fair to break that a little, though I agree it's not worth getting lost in designing a hypothetical 20th level feature.

I think the general idea of a Stroke of Death is awesome, and of course to 5e-ify it would require certain limiting language be added, eg. "...creature with legendary actions or legendary resistances cannot be reduced to 0 hp by this effect; instead they take an additional 6d8 damage from the attack." Something like that.

To get back to the microtransactional design, if you look at a Battle Master maneuver that gives an effective attack bonus like Feinting Attack (gain advantage), it's still falling short of saying "You spent a resource? Great, you can automatically hit!" instead 5e says, "ok, you can have an improved chance of hitting, but if you miss, sorry."

My opinion is that this microtransactional paradigm impacts the combat side of things more than the other lighter weight systems in the game because combat is microscopically detailed (in comparison). And the fighter IS almost entirely built around combat, so any design is trying to squeeze in effects with micro-steps, and this "squeeze" effect on design intensifies at higher levels as the designers walk this microtransactional design railroad that leads to ...well, a very popular class :ROFLMAO: 😩 ...but also a small subset of folks (raises hand) who find it myopic.
 

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hawkeyefan

Legend
Here's a few ideas.

Level 11- Athletic Perfection: You no longer can fail unopposed Athletics checks. Twice per day, for opposed rolls in which you would make an Athletics check, you can treat any roll of 9 or lower on the die as if it was a 10.

level 13- Deadly Prowess- As a full attack action, you can make a single devastating attack. You must forego any additional attacks from the Extra Attack Feature or with an off-hand weapon. You take a penalty of -5 on this attack. If it is successful, any creature of large or smaller size is slain in a single hit. You can use this ability once per day at 13th level and gain another use at every odd remaining level, up to 4 times per day at level 19.

Level 20 - Avatar of Battle- On your turn, you can move up to your speed and attack up to four times using the Extra Attack feature, applying the Deadly Prowess feature to each attack. During this movement, you cannot be halted or stopped in any way, though you are subject to attacks of opportunity. However, you gain resistance to such attacks for this turn. You can use this ability once per day.

***********************

These are just quick ideas off the top of my head and they clearly haven't gone through any kind of vetting or playtesting process. All I did was take other class abilities or spells available to other classes of similar level, and then model a fighter version. Nothing above is out of synch with the abilities of other classes of similar level.
 

@Quickleaf I think there is also a psychological quirk that people like rolling dice, even though it might mean that they can fail and they wouldn't like that part. And for example I believe that to most people it is somehow more satisfying to roll a lot of dice doing a lot of damage than just have an autokill ability.
 

Here's a few ideas.

Level 11- Athletic Perfection: You no longer can fail unopposed Athletics checks.
I don't like this part as it is completely unconnected your athletic prowess. You can literally have no athletics skill and negative strength (dex warriors exist) and still have ability to endlessly autosucceed at DC 30 athletics checks.

Twice per day, for opposed rolls in which you would make an Athletics check, you can treat any roll of 9 or lower on the die as if it was a 10.
This part is fine, and would probably be fine if it was always on with all athletics checks.

level 13- Deadly Prowess- As a full attack action, you can make a single devastating attack. You must forego any additional attacks from the Extra Attack Feature or with an off-hand weapon. You take a penalty of -5 on this attack. If it is successful, any creature of large or smaller size is slain in a single hit. You can use this ability once per day at 13th level and gain another use at every odd remaining level, up to 4 times per day at level 19.
I think this is still bonkers and unfun. It would be the obvious go to tactic to give the fighter advantage and any other possible bonus and use to slay any powerful foe it can be used on.


Generally I feel that one needs to be pretty careful with HP bypassing eliminations that can be used on powerful foes. It is no surprise that Banishment is often companied about. Such things easily become the boring tactic to always use, and makes any damage the other character could deal to the foe before such an elimination meaningless. It has the potential to destroy the fun and excitement of climatic battles that should be a big deal with an ebb and flow of combat to which everyone can contribute to.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think the general idea of a Stroke of Death is awesome
Thank you! Though I'm sure you'd already thought of it, or something like it!

of course to 5e-ify it would require certain limiting language be added, eg. "...creature with legendary actions or legendary resistances cannot be reduced to 0 hp by this effect; instead they take an additional 6d8 damage from the attack." Something like that.
Agreed. This is the 5e equivalent to extra actions, +5 to save, etc on a 4e D&D solo.

To get back to the microtransactional design, if you look at a Battle Master maneuver that gives an effective attack bonus like Feinting Attack (gain advantage), it's still falling short of saying "You spent a resource? Great, you can automatically hit!" instead 5e says, "ok, you can have an improved chance of hitting, but if you miss, sorry."
I don't think I'd formed a view as to whether Stroke of Death requires a successful to hit roll, or just declaring a valid attack. The former seems closer to 5e design, I think - in part by making buffs matter.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The fighter has a skill list. What skill based actions or traits could a high level fighter have that doesn't infringe on the skill use of other classes?

Acrobatics-????

Animal Handling- Something Mount related for sure.

Athletics- Wrestling. Climbing and Swimming are more rangery. Then barbarian. Then fighter with rogue. But actually wrestling. Athleticism with combat prowess. Perhaps a high level fighter can choose to be able to grapple a foe three sizes larger than them?

History- Wars and Battles. Perhaps a fighter train ed History knows everything about the commonly known about wars and battles and can roll to relate the current situation to a war or battle to get a bonus to another check.

Insight- Some level of near unbeatable poker face.

Intimidation- A nonmagical fear aura around one's stance that frightens creatures that look directly at you?

Persuasion- ????

Perception- Something guard duty related. Blindsight???

Survival- ???
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I don't like this part as it is completely unconnected your athletic prowess. You can literally have no athletics skill and negative strength (dex warriors exist) and still have ability to endlessly autosucceed at DC 30 athletics checks.

So what? Let them succeed at Athletics checks. What happens? They can always climb, swim, or jump. They don't fail at those things.

I mean, if a DC is set, the GM has to be ready to deal with a success, right? So it's not like something that shouldn't be expected anyway.

This part is fine, and would probably be fine if it was always on with all athletics checks.

I think this is still bonkers and unfun. It would be the obvious go to tactic to give the fighter advantage and any other possible bonus and use to slay any powerful foe it can be used on.

Right. Why is that a problem? Why are fighters the only ones who "enjoy rolling dice"? I've never had a player of a wizard complain that they didn't get to roll dice when they cast forcecage, or when a Power Word spell works to full effect. They usually feel pretty awesome.

I would add a caveat about Legendary Monsters, which I meant to include, but neglected to and then was reminded by @Quickleaf 's last post. Perhaps something like, "Legendary creatures can resist this effect with one use of the Legendary Resistance feature, suffering only normal damage if they choose to do so."

Generally I feel that one needs to be pretty careful with HP bypassing eliminations that can be used on powerful foes. It is no surprise that Banishment is often companied about. Such things easily become the boring tactic to always use, and makes any damage the other character could deal to the foe before such an elimination meaningless. It has the potential to destroy the fun and excitement of climatic battles that should be a big deal with an ebb and flow of combat to which everyone can contribute to.

I mean, I tend to determine how exciting and climactic a combat is after it's played out, not beforehand.

It's amazing how similar these complaints are to the ones made by folks who'd like to see the fighter improved. So many spells bypass HP and also target potentially weak defenses, offering the casters multiple ways to approach a given creature.

Other characters in the game can essentially do exactly this, or something very similar. Some things are arguably much more powerful. Why is it a problem for the fighter?
 

pemerton

Legend
Generally I feel that one needs to be pretty careful with HP bypassing eliminations that can be used on powerful foes. It is no surprise that Banishment is often companied about. Such things easily become the boring tactic to always use, and makes any damage the other character could deal to the foe before such an elimination meaningless. It has the potential to destroy the fun and excitement of climatic battles that should be a big deal with an ebb and flow of combat to which everyone can contribute to.
But this can be fairly easily accommodated - eg if the creature has lost half its hp, the fighter gets +N on its deadly attack. (Balance to taste.)
 

So what? Let them succeed at Athletics checks. What happens? They can always climb, swim, or jump. They don't fail at those things.
Coherence failure. How can a person who is not even proficient in athletics autosucceed at athletics? What does this represent? Might alos make rogue who boosted their stength and took expertise in athletics to feel a tad silly.

I mean, if a DC is set, the GM has to be ready to deal with a success, right? So it's not like something that shouldn't be expected anyway.
DC 30 to be reachable generally requires a very good score and expertise.

Right. Why is that a problem? Why are fighters the only ones who "enjoy rolling dice"? I've never had a player of a wizard complain that they didn't get to roll dice when they cast forcecage, or when a Power Word spell works to full effect. They usually feel pretty awesome.
I'm sure people generally like rolling dice. I coud be wrong, it was just my impression. Also, forcecage is one of those spells people often complain about. It is unfun autowin spell. Also note that even powerword kill, a ninth level spell, doesn't just bypass HP.

I would add a caveat about Legendary Monsters, which I meant to include, but neglected to and then was reminded by @Quickleaf 's last post. Perhaps something like, "Legendary creatures can resist this effect with one use of the Legendary Resistance feature, suffering only normal damage if they choose to do so."
That would make it more reasonable, and limit situations it can make unfun. I still don't think it is good design, at least in my games legendary monsters are pretty rare.

I mean, I tend to determine how exciting and climactic a combat is after it's played out, not beforehand.

It's amazing how similar these complaints are to the ones made by folks who'd like to see the fighter improved. So many spells bypass HP and also target potentially weak defenses, offering the casters multiple ways to approach a given creature.

Other characters in the game can essentially do exactly this, or something very similar. Some things are arguably much more powerful. Why is it a problem for the fighter?
I base my assessment partly on how people tend not to like when spells do this. I would rather nerf these problematic spells than expand this unpopular design to more areas. An it is not just about caster envy why people don't like this. A lot of this game is about combat, and not just about winning a combat. It is about being able to contribute and use tactics. Anticlimactic combat where one character handles the situation is not fun, probably not to player of that one character either, at least not in the long run.
 


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