5E What IS a level 1 Fighter?

When I say "Level 1 Fighter" what image first comes to mind?

  • A farm hand picking up a sword to go slay goblins

    Votes: 7 7.9%
  • Someone who just started training with weapons

    Votes: 12 13.5%
  • A veteran who turns his skills with weapons toward adventuring

    Votes: 47 52.8%
  • Something else entirely

    Votes: 23 25.8%

  • Total voters
    89

Fenris-77

Explorer
Part of the issue here is that fighter, as a class, and soldier, as a profession, aren't the same thing. First, many fighters aren't soldiers, and second, many soldiers aren't fighters (in D&D terms).

The class is a lot more nuanced and flexible that simply being a measure of weapons training. You could build a character for any of the examples and make it work if you wanted to. Also, class in D&D isn't supposed to be a narrative straight jacket.
 

Hussar

Legend
Part of the issue here is that fighter, as a class, and soldier, as a profession, aren't the same thing. First, many fighters aren't soldiers, and second, many soldiers aren't fighters (in D&D terms).

The class is a lot more nuanced and flexible that simply being a measure of weapons training. You could build a character for any of the examples and make it work if you wanted to. Also, class in D&D isn't supposed to be a narrative straight jacket.
No, that's true. Class isn't a straight jacket. But, unlike most other classes, fighter is probably the widest open of the classes. Even rogue comes bundled with a fair degree of flavor - Thieves Cant, and even the 3rd level archetypes - assassin? - come with a fair number of in game assumptions.

Fighters, OTOH, are so broad that they aren't really a class. Just a collection of vaguely linked special abilities and a lack of anything supernatural. :D
 

Krachek

Adventurer
I don’t know if the answer choice of ”veteran” was chosen with care, but there is a npc veteran in the MM. 1st level fighter simply don’t match it.

but in DnD thing can be silly, in a few weeks of game time a 1st level fighter can gain a lot of level, matching the veteran npc. A few weeks ago he was only rusty and cool down,

the whole question of interpretation of level may differ greatly for different dm and between npc and player,
 

Krachek

Adventurer
There was time in DnD where we got table to tell us how many npc of each level would be found in large city.
Those time are over, the only hints we have now is some npc in the MM.
Based on those npc, we can imagine An army composed of guards, veterans, and other quality of warrior. In my imagination unit composed of thousands of veteran is a possibility.

but pc are heros. They don’t necessarily fit the rules of progression and rarity of npc. A hero fighter or wizard can learn very vast and be able to overcome any challenge.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
The speed of advancement depends on the number of combat encounters. For NPCs, this can range from zero to perhaps some kind of ‘average’, given a medievalesque D&D world that has a relatively high degree of violence.

When the ‘average’ age of a

• Level 1 combatant is 18 years old (≈ entering college)
• Level 3 is 20
• Level 5 is 22 (≈ graduating college)

it seems like the ‘average’ rate of level advancement for combatants is

• 1 level of advancement per year



Of course, player characters see much more combat encounters than other characters. An absurd SIX encounters per day, even!

With that crazy high frequency of combat, player characters can advance far more rapidly than other characters.

I feel this speed of advancement is reasonable, if player characters are simply understood to be at the outer edge of the bell curve, far away from average. A player character is a kind of character that sees more combat than the rest of the population does.



The only way to slow down the speed of level advancement is to use Downtime activities to pace out the frequency of combat.

Particularly at levels 8 and higher, when characters begin to build institutions, like a military fortress or a school of wizardry, these projects can take a long time in-game, thus slow down the frequency of combat.



I view all D&D classes as fightingstyles. Fighting by means of magic, or fighting by means of a sword, are simply to different ways to do combat.

So, for me, when a player picks a ‘class’, by definition, it is creating a combat-oriented character concept that will see an unusually high frequency of combat encounters.

By contrast, on ‘average’, nonplayer characters see far less combat. So, it is fine when even those who have levels in a class, dont see as much combat as player characters do, thus take more years to advance than player characters do. Many nonplayer characters never even see combat, thus would have zero experience in a class fightingstyle.



For nonplayer combatants, one level per year seems a reasonable rule of thumb when thinking about in-game expectations.

But it also seems fine if player characters are atypical.
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
Late to the thread, but here's how I see it: This goes for the every other class, as well as the fighter: At level one, you have ZERO experience. That's mostly figurative, but I take it seriously. However, you clearly have a LOT of training. So, in my mind, all Level One characters are (at least relatively) fresh from their Apprenticeships, but they've got training that is superior to that of most people. (This is the default assumption - individual stories can vary greatly). Even if you've been a caravan guard, or a soldier, in your backstory, you saw little to no action (zero experience, right?)

But not farmhand with a Sword. That's a commoner. That's where the old zero-level character idea comes in. Level One is a ton (probably years) of quality training, but no experience.

IMHO, of course.

Edit to add: Even the sorcerer works like this, it's just more "practice" than "training". The warlock is similar, as well.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
A level 1 fighter is Odysseus, Achilles or Paris when they are starting out the hero thing.

Maybe they have fought in some skirmishes before hand, lots of training, etc; but nothing really heroic. Not yet.

They are already a cut above other soldiers or guards, but only a cut. They seem to have a natural talent for this stuff. And you can just see potential dripping out of them.

Maybe they are a farmhand picking up a sword, but the sword moves like it was part of their arm. Maybe they are a veteran of 3 wars where they saw their companions die, and are now sick of being a tool of their stupid officers. Maybe they are a noble squire, trained since birth, whose master was struck down by a zombie horde; they fled in terror, and have decided they will never do it again.

But they are gifted at this stuff.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
By the way, I want to thank everyone for participating in this thread. It's been interesting seeing everyone share their perspective, offer insight into how they came to their conclusions and debate on relatively friendly terms.

I think it's good to, sometimes, examine the assumptions that have been with us for years, especially when we move from one edition to another.
 
ALL of this stuff is part of D&D, new and old. You are leaning very close to saying that Grimdark is superior, and people who like anything else are wrong.
No. The problem is how you are defining "grimdark". It appears that everything from Moorcock and Howard to Martin and Jemisin, is for you "grimdark", possibly including stuff like Jordan and Hobb. And let's be clear - Moorcock and Howard are indeed even darker and more cynical than Martin or Jemisin, but that's a patently ludicrous definition, akin so saying anyone to the right of Marx is a "far-right extremist" or something (and yes there are people who say that). The vast majority of fantasy literature, including much (most?) of Appendix N falls into "grimdark" by your definition. So I'm not saying it's "superior" but I am saying the vast majority of D&D influences, especially the most major ones, fall under your "grimdark" category. There's a reason Good and Evil came after Law and Chaos, years later. So it follows that as what you arbitrarily and rather unfairly define as "grimdark" (ludicrous when juxtaposed with the actual grimdark of Warhammer) is more important to D&D.
 
Howard and Moorcock are very far from Grimdark. The main point of Grimdark is that it is anti-heroic. - that doesn't refer to morality of the characters, it refers to "plot armor". In Game of Thrones any character can die like a punk, and the person who wins the fight is the best fighter. Conan (and Elric, etc) is completely different. They cannot die. They will always win, no matter how powerful or skilled their opponent is. If you tried to ambush Conan at the Red Wedding he would have been the last man standing. That is because they are "heroic". Not because they are nice people, but because of the type of story they inhabit.

And there is plenty of modern fantasy that you prefer to ignore because it doesn't fit your preconceived notions - Terry Pratchett, J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Phillip Pullman, David Eddings, Raymond Fiest, Terry Brooks etc.
 
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Heh, when it comes to the Fighter, thank goodness for 5e backgrounds.
Yep. If all classes felt that way, it"d be a symptom the game might be in danger of achieving a modicum of class balance.
". In Game of Thrones any character can die like a punk, and the person who wins the fight is the best fighter.
The best fighter will usually win the tourney, anyway - then die like a punk.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Howard and Moorcock are very far from Grimdark. The main point of Grimdark is that it is anti-heroic. - that doesn't refer to morality of the characters, it refers to "plot armor". In Game of Thrones any character can die like a punk, and the person who wins the fight is the best fighter. Conan (and Elric, etc) is completely different. They cannot die. They will always win, no matter how powerful or skilled their opponent is. If you tried to ambush Conan at the Red Wedding he would have been the last man standing. That is because they are "heroic". Not because they are nice people, but because of the type of story they inhabit.
Brooks etc.
I had not thought of it this way. Would you consider The First Law Trilogy to be Grimdark since the Bloody Nine is nigh unconquerable?
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
We’re not talking about bread shops where the upper crust go. We’re talking about shops where the kneady go. You try to keep things calm but when things go a rye you need someone to take care of customers going against the grain.
Clever girl :LOL:
 

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