D&D 5E [+]What does your "complex fighter" look like?


The High Aldwin
Only works if you're playing in a game with an equal distribution of all 3.
Right. I am just saying that is what I could see.

And then you need to have reasonably close to equal distribution of challenges/encounters in all 3 pillars, which isn't common IME.

For example, most of the time my game is probably weighted 50/30/20 for combat/exploration/social.

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B/X Known World
So, if you are one of the people that feels like there is an unmet need for a "complex fighter" class/build/whatever -- what does that mean to you? What are you looking for in the game mechanics? What is missing, or what is actively restricting this?
There’s only a few things I think the fighter needs to be either more complex or more robust. The champion’s and battlemaster’s abilities should all be folded into the base class. Any fighter should be able to perform maneuvers without spending superiority dice. Those dice should simply be an extra damage mechanic instead. Give the fighter something like the warrior’s mighty deeds from DCC. Do all that, then the fighter is sitting about where they should be as an archetype. Figure out the subclasses after.



A Hero is elevated above the common mortal by some means. This is called the Hero's power source.

Each Hero starts with a Power Source at level 1, and for each level in this class they must level up a power source as well. Some power sources have max levels. Heroes can gain additional power sources as they adventure, finding them as quest rewards, treasure or other events as the DM describes.

Abilities are a combination of (a) core class stuff, (b) power source level, (c) talents, like warlock invocations.

They have a limited number of power sources.

Power sources could be:
Ancestral Weapon
Chosen by Fate
Divine Blood
Dragon Blood
Ancient Secret
Intense Mystical Training
Abberant Blood
Infernal Blood
Harnessed Curse
Reborn Legend
Sworn Quest


The High Aldwin
Each Hero starts with a Power Source at level 1
The only bad thing about something like this is it detracts from the experience for people who want to play the Zero to Hero journey.

A Hero is elevated above the common mortal by some means. This is called the Hero's power source.
And along those lines, IMO a Hero is elevated by what the have done, not by a "power source" that already makes them special.

I think it is fine for people who want this, but I know I wouldn't. Just to be clear, I am simply stating the opposing view, not challenging the validity of your idea.

I don't understand why people want to give the fighter more social and exploration abilities when there are martial classes that focus on these things. Why should the fighter be a generalist who is good at everything.
Because a class that basically sits on it's hands when out of combat isn't very much fun? I mean "good at combat" is a baseline expectation for classes in 5e- and most classes can do that and more. And it's not like the Fighter is all that much better at fighting than other classes.
yeah since 2/3 of the game isn't combat, and the classes that specialize in non combat things are still good at combat what's fair is fair


I don't think the Power source idea is a bad one. The "out of the book" battlemaster would be an example of "Intense Training" power source. Throw in some abilities gated by level - 4th level maneuvers, 8th level maneuvers, etc. and I think you'd have a pretty good class. It would still follow the hero's journey of zero to hero as the character gets more powerful abilities as they level.

And I, for one, would love to see an "Ancestral Weapon" fighter, as that trope fits a certain character story that has been in the background of my campaign world for years, but has been difficult to incorporate over the years of D&D.

2/3 of the pillars aren't combat. In the vast majority of actual play cases, I would guess that more than 2/3 of the game is combat.
it depends on the game... I am running a much more intrigue based game as my main campaign and playing in a curse of strahd where we try to avoid every fight, and playing in a game where we do more exploring then anything... and I am running the weirdest ravenloft game (that is 3 groups 1 once a month 1 every tuesday night and 1 that runs 2 on 2 off alternating games) in none of them does combat take up 1/2 the game at all

how ever the last campaign I ran I would say was about 2/3 combat, and the last 2 games on the alternating Saturday game 1 was heavy intrigue (We would go 3-4 sessions without a fight) and 1 heavy combat and exploration where I would say 40% combat 40 % exploration and 20% sociol (and that MAY be over selling the social aspect of that one)


I would say in a perfect world I want the 4e classes of fighter and warlord ported in but just modified to fit the edition, but I don't think that will ever happen.

in my 'could happen' I want to take the warlock chaise.

2 subclasses, 1 at 1st and 1 at 3rd.

at 1st you would pick between a cha leader type, a int leader type, a wis defender type and a Dex striker type being based loosely on the 2 warlord builds, the fighter from the PHB of 4e and the slayer from 4e.

have 6-8 at will combat exploits similar to cantrips (some combat buy at least 1 social and 1 exploration maybe 1 that is strong rp)

then you pick from a list of 'exploits' each that has a prereq level (1st, 5th, 9th, 13th, 17th) and basically scale in power like spells do (so 1st ones are equal to 1st level spells, 5th level ones are between 2nd and 3rd level spells, 9th are about like 4th level and 13th equal to about 5th level and 17th in line with about 6th level spells) each of these you learn is like learning a spell for a warlock... and 1st choice of subclass opens up some options... but you basically get 2+ 1 every other level... more or less. You get 1 at 1st level and 2 at 2nd 'exploits' that allow you to use these... they come back on a short rest (again like warlock spells) and some scale as you level others have trade off ones as you level... but that we can nail out later. at level 11 you get a 3rd use per short rest and at 17th a 4th.

starting at 2nd level you get the equivalent of invocations. Some of these will give new at will abilities some will give 1/day use an exploit to do this big thing. some are passive bonuses. In my mind this is where things like 'charm somone' or 'expertise in a skill' can sit next to a stance ability like getting extra reactions but you need concentration...

now these exploits and invocation like things all need (IMO) labels like 'mondain, extortionary, supernatural (I used those from 3e but canny, uncanny, supernatural might be better) so in theory you can play from level 1-level 11 without ever having a supernatural ability if you want.

now here is the hard part... at 3rd level you get a subclass more invocative, something like Knight, local hero, chosen blade... but they have to all interact with all the 1st level choices.

now up above I said you should be able to play from 1st - 11th without supernatural abilities... I am fine if some of what comes next says 'no only supernatural choices' but it would be great if you could make it work without that.

starting at level 11 you get super exploits these don't silio with your others that come back on a short rest, you get them from a very short list and are the equivalent to game changing high arcana (so 6th-9th level spells)

keep it as a d8 medium armor all weapon prof class... give it something like Int and Con prof for saves, and do NOT give it extra attacks as default, but let them take one of there invocation like things to get a 2nd attack.
I love everything about this and would totally play it (in fact it is similar to how I play hecblades) but may I suggest the Druid as your chaise.

A bunch of exploits leveled 1-9 that you can prep x number of and use y number per long rest but you can regain some during short rest.

Then instead of wildshape you have styles. Enter a style get a set of new defenses and attacks that are soesfic to the individual style

Give them 2nd attack at 11th


it depends on the game... I am running a much more intrigue based game as my main campaign and playing in a curse of strahd where we try to avoid every fight, and playing in a game where we do more exploring then anything... and I am running the weirdest ravenloft game
Yeah I have played in games were we level from 3rd to 8th over 7-8 months where the closest we came to combat was a slap here a shove there and 1 time training dueling

I would say combat is on average about 50% of my 5e D&D and about 65-70% if you add up all previous editions.


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