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

Quickleaf

Legend
Called shot - forgo an attack to to inflict a powerful debuff of some kind (stunned, blinded, paralyzed, etc.), maybe tier the debuff or apply incremental debuffs based on a crit.
There's something here. In that fighter hack I posted a few posts back, a couple features are organized around the idea of "forgoing extra attacks" to boost a single attack via damage and debuffs.

That framework – seeing the fighter's Extra Attack as a resource (unique from the ways other classes use Extra Attack) – could be a design foundation for higher level combat abilities for the fighter that has built in scaling (due to Extra Attack at 5th, 11th, etc).
 

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Tony Vargas

Legend
I just think that things that represent capability to deal damage should mainly work via with hit points. Then it will interact properly with immunities, resistances etc, and the representation remains consistent; damage roll represents ability to deal damage, hit points the ability to resist it. I think creating parallel systems to represent things that already are represented is system aesthetically awkward, and also has potential to mess up the balancing of the game.
That became very evident with Save or Die spells in 3e. It undermines the most basic cooperation in D&D combat, 'focus fire,' too - the party whittles down an enemy, or a high-damage character wins initiative and puts big chunk of damage on it, then it fails a save and poof dead, all that damage done to it was moot.

If a version of D&D has thoroughly scrubbed itself of non-hp ways of defeating enemies (and PCs), that's something you wouldn't want to un-do.
OTOH, if for whatever reason, it retains such mechanics, well, they're part of the design space....
 

That became very evident with Save or Die spells in 3e. It undermines the most basic cooperation in D&D combat, 'focus fire,' too - the party whittles down an enemy, or a high-damage character wins initiative and puts big chunk of damage on it, then it fails a save and poof dead, all that damage done to it was moot.

If a version of D&D has thoroughly scrubbed itself of non-hp ways of defeating enemies (and PCs), that's something you wouldn't want to un-do.
OTOH, if for whatever reason, it retains such mechanics, well, they're part of the design space....
I think 5e has done oakyish job in eliminating or at least limiting such things, but there are some that have slipped through the cracks. I hope the 5.5 update will address these.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
I think 5e has done oakyish job in eliminating or at least limiting such things, but there are some that have slipped through the cracks. I hope the 5.5 update will address these.
It did not put back as many as I expected.
(A mistake D&D made up-front, I think, was to use a wargame, Chainmail, for combat, which was, as wargames tend to be, fairly abstract, and then, when adding it's own combat system, went very abstract with AC & hp & relatively long rounds - which was all to the good for a playable game, really (try GURPS sometime) - but, then take a different approach with other aspects of the game. Like, outside of combat, early D&D was often little more than player-described actions and DM adjudication, and, of course, spells and items being one-off and quite detailed/concrete. SoDs and the like were an aspect of that.)
3e took that to a place of rocket tag, ultimately, and 4e swung away from that (but didn't completely eliminate it).
5e did well not to swing back towards 3e & the classic game even more than it did. I suppose SoDs were particularly notorious in 3e, so remained a consideration.

It does still have some hp-bypassing mechanics, tho, that could be problematic - but are mostly ignored, I think. Exhaustion, is an odd one, for instance. It was pretty out there back in the day, IIRC, too.
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
Thought experiment... what would happen if I was less concerned with breaking 5e class design, incorporated "minion-ization" into the fighter, incorporated some social and exploration features, added a White Hack-esque "debuff or damage" feature, threw in the 4e idea of Epic Destinies (many had a "when you die" triggered feature), and topped it off with borrowing Legendary Monster features?

Call Mounts blow your horn as an action to call mounts – aerial, nautical, or land-based – who have been waiting nearby to transport you and your party for the next 12 hours; each time you attempt to use your warhorn within the same 24 hour period, there is a 10% cumulative chance the mounts cannot reach you for the next week

Grit once per short or long rest, delay a condition so that it doesn’t affect you until the end of your next turn, or halve the damage you take from the environment or a fall

Ruinous Wounds when you would deal damage, propose one trait or action of target to nullify instead of dealing damage; target either takes damage or loses access to that trait or action until end of its next turn; each Extra Attack you give up increases the damage by 2 weapon dice if the target chooses to take damage; you cannot use Ruinous Wounds again until you score a critical hit or take a short or long rest

Revered in Song when you visit a settlement where you are known, choose one: shift prevailing attitude toward you one step, gain an audience with an influential figure, recruit a follower, or enshrine your latest exploits for generations to come

Herculean Effort when performing a feat of physical prowess, you can expend a number of Hit Dice up to your Proficiency Bonus; roll those Hit Dice and add them to the distance you jump in 10’s feet, the weight you lift in 100’s of pounds, the duration you exert yourself (e.g. holding breath) in minutes, or the duration you can perform a forced march in hours.

Improved Ruinous Wounds you can propose any duration for Ruinous Wounds – save ends (10+ on d20), 1 minute, 1 hour, 24 hours, permanently, etc.

Epic Destiny define your “epic destiny”; if you would be killed before you achieve this destiny, you may return from death after your party takes a short or long rest, provided your soul is not trapped; however this is taxing, reduce an ability of your choice by 5 points permanently, choosing Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution; if this would drop your ability score to less than 5, you cannot reduce that ability score

Legendary gain your choice of 3 Legendary Actions or Legendary Resistances, divided as you choose (e.g. 2 Legendary Actions and 1 Legendary Resistance); Legendary Actions are chosen from Charge, Command Ally, Maneuver, Shake It Off, and Weapon Attack

Screen Shot 2023-11-07 at 11.07.55 AM.png

EDIT: deliberately started this at 9th level to focus on the high-level side of things, but this assumes that sometime before 9th level this fighter gets a "minion clearing" feature.
 
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Bluenose

Adventurer
Well, there's a difference in that it still allows save:1/2 to autokill such creatures in their AE, while the minion mechanic required they be hit (transliterated into 5e, that'd mean minions all have something like evasion).

So what?

That is intended to sound flippant, but if the Fighter is "The best at Combat (TM)" then why would other classes get equally or more effective combat abilities. Particularly spellcasters, who get a whole array of other things they're good at which the Fighter can't do at all.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
To me, it seems to represent the same sort of thing as having Evasion and Uncanny Dodge though not being proficient in Acrobatics (I can leap and tumble, but only when someone tries to stab, shoot or fireball me?) or like having Second Story Work though not being proficient in Athletics.

D&D 5e is full of overlapping abilities and buffs that are not uniformly filtered through the proficiency rules.
That issue with Evasion/Uncanny Dodge is just as much a problem for me as this proposed fighter "fix" would be. I prefer abilities to have a grounding in a coherent setting.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I think as long as we're talking capstone-type stuff, and we're within spitting distance of Power Word Kill, then I'm not sure there's much of a problem.

There are a ton of levers to pull to tune the lethality as well, give the baddie a save, give certain baddies advantage on the save, make it affect creatures of certain relative CRs or apply an hp threshold a la PWK.
This is not an issue of class balance. This expression is inelegant for the reasons @Crimson Longinus stated, and has issues with verisimilitude besides.

I know, a lot of people don't care about that. But I certainly do.
 

This is not an issue of class balance. This expression is inelegant for the reasons @Crimson Longinus stated, and has issues with verisimilitude besides.

I know, a lot of people don't care about that. But I certainly do.
Inconsistent with hp usage, sure for both good and ill.

If a complaint is "Creatures have too much hp, such that the class whose sole focus is on killing things can't efficiently kill things" one solution is to go through and retune every creature's statblock, and all spells and abilities that interact with hp. Easy job, right?

Another is providing some limited way for the "solely focused on killing things" class to bypass hp and actually kill things.

If it is no more complex or unbalanced than existing spell mechanics, I don't see an issue.

As far as complaints about verisimilitude,
1. You haven't made any sort of argument for how such abilities would be problematic
2. People can care deeply about verisimilitude and have different opinions from you about what sorts of game elements should be problematic for it. Framing such a discussion in terms of "cares about verisimilitude" and "does not care about verisimilitude" is unfair and in most cases, simply untrue.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
So what?

That is intended to sound flippant, but if the Fighter is "The best at Combat (TM)" then why would other classes get equally or more effective combat abilities. Particularly spellcasters, who get a whole array of other things they're good at which the Fighter can't do at all.
Because the actual claim was "The best at fighting (with weapons (and without magic)" and /best/ in an advertising claim sense is just "no one else is clearly better."

So, any other class can be as good as the fighter at fighting, armed, without casting any spells or using any magic items, and a class can be better than the fighter at fighting unarmed, and a class can be better than the fighter at fighting once a spell has been cast or a magic item picked up, and the claim remains valid.

Neat, huh? Thank Madison Ave.

(damn, I carbon-dated myself with that one)
 

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