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Level Up (A5E) What is the vision of the high level fighter?

Amhain

Explorer
But in 1974, the "Fighting Man" WAS the martial class. Period. Wiley woodland warriors (the future Ranger), raging barbarians (duh), knights in shining armor (later becoming Paladins), they all fell under its auspices as "guy/gal who fights."

In the intervening 46 years, the Fighter has had its design space chipped away at by more and more "new" classes that were once just parts of its milieu, until it's been left with basically nothing that is unique to it thematically.

Add to that the fact that modern Classes are ALL useful in combat, as being useful in combat has become the baseline minimum for a class to be considered playable, and we're left with an empty shell where the mighty Fighting Man once was.

"It's been there since the beginning" is a terrible reason to keep something that is no longer fit for purpose. Though one could easily call the reworked Barbarian/Fighter hybrid I proposed earlier "Fighter" to keep the term around. Or even "Fighting Man" if one wanted to go for a more retro feel. And this would likely be more palatable to a wider community than killing the name, even if said name is incredibly bland.
 

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Lylandra

Adventurer
the combat prowess of the fighter in a "fair" 1on1 scenario isn't the problem with the class imo. The problem is that is is lacking in terms of high level fluff/utility.

I agree with the OP's ideas because the fighter is a very broad, unspecialized class per se. Fighters can be everything and everyone. At least in terms of background and free writing. But they lack the tools to make the mechanical distinction as well. Not every fighter is a leader figure like a king or chieftain with followers, but some are. Not every fighter is a wuxia-level physics defying hero a la Cloud Strife or other anime/comic book heroes. Not every fighter dips into the fantasy of another class and becomes a magic knight or Chosen One with healing powers and 6th senses. But all of them are part of the fighter archetype.

Maybe we can break it down to their most important second stat?
Leaders (with followers?): Charisma
Tacticians: Intelligence
Survivors/Athletes: Constitution
Mystic Masters: Wisdom
Acrobats/Wuxia: Dexterity

(And yes please give them skills to match their archetypes!!!)
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
But in 1974, the "Fighting Man" WAS the martial class. Period. Wiley woodland warriors (the future Ranger), raging barbarians (duh), knights in shining armor (later becoming Paladins), they all fell under its auspices as "guy/gal who fights."

In the intervening 46 years, the Fighter has had its design space chipped away at by more and more "new" classes that were once just parts of its milieu, until it's been left with basically nothing that is unique to it thematically.

Add to that the fact that modern Classes are ALL useful in combat, as being useful in combat has become the baseline minimum for a class to be considered playable, and we're left with an empty shell where the mighty Fighting Man once was.

"It's been there since the beginning" is a terrible reason to keep something that is no longer fit for purpose. Though one could easily call the reworked Barbarian/Fighter hybrid I proposed earlier "Fighter" to keep the term around. Or even "Fighting Man" if one wanted to go for a more retro feel. And this would likely be more palatable to a wider community than killing the name, even if said name is incredibly bland.

In all honesty. Early play generally centered around lower level wizard play. I think fighters leveled faster than wizards as well. I’m not sure what level a fighter would be by the time a wizard hit 5th. Does anyone?
 

If I had to pick a fighter that wasn’t a lord i would go with the one nearly impervious to damage and magic with some ability to insta kill enemies sufficiently weaker than him. He would essentially be the “hero archetype”.

give him abilities to defend allies. Give him a healthy slew of out of ckmbat enhancing bailies that don’t compete with in combat abilities.

that’s my idea of afun high level fighter that doesn’t need to directly compete with wizards world changing power. He’s the enduring hero.
Coming up with combat abilities for a high-level Fighter is easy. Its the out of combat abilities that fit the concept that are hard.
I'm not sure I agree. The Heavily armored soldier is still a space for the fighter, the master of the battlefield. It may be a thin place, but it is there and should be preserved.
OK. And when off the battlefield, how can we get this class to contribute as much as the wizard with access to Teleport, Shapechange, Clone, Mass Suggestion etc?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
OK. And when off the battlefield, how can we get this class to contribute as much as the wizard with access to Teleport, Shapechange, Clone, Mass Suggestion etc?
There is the million dollar question (or has inflation made it Billion).

I think the answer has always been making sure magic has actual limits and skills are given fewer limits.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Examples perhaps
What if for instance Teleport was always seen as travel through the ethereal plane instead of instant and was not 100 percent danger free.

What if expertise in the appropriate Charisma skill could do an effect similar to mass suggestion

Gilgamesh could be able to increase his overland travel speed even carrying an ally to 18 times the normal and do so for days. (basically a world class caliber constant sprint with video game caliber ignoring the concept of fatigue)
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
There is the million dollar question (or has inflation made it Billion).

I think the answer has always been making sure magic has actual limits and skills are given fewer limits.

I actually like how PF2 handles high roll skill checks, having them have a greater influence. Like scoring a 25+ on a persuasion check could actually impose the charmed condition on the target.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'd say it could be as simple as:
  • removing the fighter
  • Add a possible STR-build rogue with medium armor and shield (brute, thug, knave whatever)
  • Refluff the barbarian to be a little less primal-oriented (or not, if you prefer you Ranger with spells and thus, not mundane).
  • Create a warlord class.

I think is is beyond the scope of Level Up. These ideas based on the info posted by the survey seem to be not reacted to much by the community. Not here anyway.
The fighter class has been around since 1974. Love it or hate it, it’s part of D&D’s bones. Yes it absolutely is a sacred cow.

The irony to the forum-hate the fighter gets is that it’s the most popular class according to WOC’s stats. While that may be because of multi-classing and low level play but the suggestion that it would be removed from the game and the role split across other combat classes is a pipe dream.

I have no problem with more tweaks and options, but there is simply no evidence that the fighter needs a complete re-write.

I think it's less fight hate and more a lack of consensus about the high level fighter.

And I hate to say it but it seems to be a generational thing. Older novels, stories, and legends rarely hit the high levels. New books, comics, and TV shows hit high level fighting frequently.

So there is seems to be a 3 way divide. Some who don't care about high level. Some who have a clear definitions of high level fighters. And people who believe in a high level fighter but have no frame of reference.

So there's no need for a rewrite. However we as a community have to discuss what high level fighters look like in order to make the desired variant rules.
 

Thus why my suggestion was some sort of hybrid of what is now Barbarian and Fighter. Some archetypes would move you away from armor, and into the true Barbarian thematic realm. Others would move towards armor and what we presently consider the Fighter. But by having them as variations on a single Class, we could give BOTH of those themes some of the stuff that is currently Barbarian only or Fighter only.

I see the end goal, but I think I like too much of the Barbarian and fighter subclasses to commit to it. I find them all excellent thematically. It is in execution they need help.

In first ed, every class did have a follower and/or land mechanic, each according to their nature. It's certainly not impossible.

Oh, it is definetly possible, and I prefer it. I own Colville's Strongholds and Followers and while the book is far far from perfect, I've used it as a spring board for those sorts of systems and campaigns.


OK. And when off the battlefield, how can we get this class to contribute as much as the wizard with access to Teleport, Shapechange, Clone, Mass Suggestion etc?

If I had a good answer to that question, I'd have given it by now.

But, to be fair to the point (which was get rid of fighters because rogues, paladins, rangers and barbarians cover all the bases) Rogues, Paladins, Rangers and Bararians also can't compete with those spells in any meaningful way.

I mean, off the battlefield the most impressive thing a Paladin can do is summon a flying horse and raise the dead. Two things that the casters have been able to do for nearly 10 levels.

And both things more impressive than what a rogue or Barbarian can accomplish.


Hmm... maybe one ability to give all fighters and maybe even all martials but fighters the most are inerrupts. Tying it to that "Heroic Surge" ability, you could give the fighter a chance to take an action to interrupt a caster. Perhaps you throw your greataxe, potentially disrupting their spell.

Sure, "free counterspell" but I'm talking as a 15th level or higher ability (with other interrupts being built into the class earlier)

Argh, that is still combat though.

Outside of combat, nothing beats magic. Skills are the only thing that come close and they aren't enough on their own.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I wonder if flavor wise a high level fighter starts to eat all the old hero specializations (ranger,barbarian,warlord even rogue and martial artist) rather like Lugh Lamhfada (and Cuh Chulainn) or Gilgamesh what class are they well basically everything martial. (Lugh was also a higher order sorcerer so he might not be great as just martial)

Cu Chulainn is one of my favorites he is an Oath bound champion (aka basically a paladin) but also a skilled prodigy whose emphasis of travelling to learn from distant masters made him very martial artist like and who ultimately exploited berserkergang he is considered by some a reincarnation of Lugh (who was known as proficient in every important profession and skill of his era).

Lancelot like Cu also an Oath bound hero was sometimes portrayed using Berserkergang (less centrally) , Roguish infiltration (sometimes more centrally) and trivial intimidating enemies transforming them into allies and other things.

I actually like how PF2 handles high roll skill checks, having them have a greater influence. Like scoring a 25+ on a persuasion check could actually impose the charmed condition on the target.
To add to this one needs to go ahead and make sure martial classes are all very very skilled. I do not think PF2 had provisions for that.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Coming up with combat abilities for a high-level Fighter is easy. Its the out of combat abilities that fit the concept that are hard.
OK. And when off the battlefield, how can we get this class to contribute as much as the wizard with access to Teleport, Shapechange, Clone, Mass Suggestion etc?

I don't even think the community even agrees if the fighter should be expanded to out of combat. But the community also can't agree on how to expand the fighter in combat.

Not like we should not do both anyway.
 
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Lucas Yew

Explorer
I wonder if flavor wise a high level fighter starts to eat all the old hero specializations (ranger,barbarian,warlord even rogue and martial artist) (...) one needs to go ahead and make sure martial classes are all very very skilled.

Personally I'd temporarily mix the old Fighter and Rogue class, and let them be the ultimate "best at what anyone else can theoretically do class". A class with d12 HD, proficiency with all armor and weaponry, 4+ skills and tools with Expertise, Str/Con saves gradually expanding to other saves, 3 or more attacks eventually, etc.

Then using that as a baseline, chip off those qualities one by one to trade with other features to recreate the other martial classes.
 

I actually like how PF2 handles high roll skill checks, having them have a greater influence. Like scoring a 25+ on a persuasion check could actually impose the charmed condition on the target.
I see two issues there though:
1) Bounded accuracy: I like it as a concept, but it has issues when placed into the same game as the 1st - 9th level D&D spell progression. But at high levels, normal ability checks increase by less than 5 compared to lower levels. And that is with expertise.
2) Increasing the capability of normal ability checks doesn't do much to reduce the power divide between casters and non-casters, because casters get to make ability checks too. - The face that people don't tend to consider ability checks on casters compared to their spells kinda demonstrates that power divide.

This is why I was considering the Heroic Surge option granting the ability to do more on a skill check. Not just "get a higher number", but more getting a more powerful effect. Like being able to carry several companions when jumping/climbing/swimming on an athletics check. Or an insight check revealing what someone's first action would be if combat started.

But, to be fair to the point (which was get rid of fighters because rogues, paladins, rangers and barbarians cover all the bases) Rogues, Paladins, Rangers and Bararians also can't compete with those spells in any meaningful way.

I mean, off the battlefield the most impressive thing a Paladin can do is summon a flying horse and raise the dead. Two things that the casters have been able to do for nearly 10 levels.

And both things more impressive than what a rogue or Barbarian can accomplish.

Outside of combat, nothing beats magic. Skills are the only thing that come close and they aren't enough on their own.

Indeed. You could probably simply give martial classes a non-combat feat every other level after 10, and it still would not overshadow a full caster.

I don't even think the community even agrees if the fighter should be expanded to out of combat. But the community also can't agree on how to expand the fighter in combat.

Not like we should not do both anyway.
While there are much more interesting things possible, at the end of the day, the fighter can easily be made more powerful in combat by having higher numbers. Note that I'm not actually convinced that this is necessary.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
1) Bounded accuracy: I like it as a concept, but it has issues when placed into the same game as the 1st - 9th level D&D spell progression. But at high levels, normal ability checks increase by less than 5 compared to lower levels. And that is with expertise.
2) Increasing the capability of normal ability checks doesn't do much to reduce the power divide between casters and non-casters, because casters get to make ability checks too. - The face that people don't tend to consider ability checks on casters compared to their spells kinda demonstrates that power divide.

I actually agree with you. I think there's could be something there that could be wortwhile addition, but I have absolutely no idea what.

The old Feat for Skills UA had some things like this, where you could use your skills to generate mechanical effects. Maybe it could be one way of doing while giving an edge to the mundanes, since fighters and rogue are generally a little more SAD and have more feat.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Personally I'd temporarily mix the old Fighter and Rogue class, and let them be the ultimate "best at what anyone else can theoretically do class". A class with d12 HD, proficiency with all armor and weaponry, 4+ skills and tools with Expertise, Str/Con saves gradually expanding to other saves, 3 or more attacks eventually, etc.

Then using that as a baseline, chip off those qualities one by one to trade with other features to recreate the other martial classes.

Ahaha, that reminds me: I have a shelved, unfinished project called Witches & Waghalters which is a gritty OSR parody using 5e framework where there was only 2 classes (there were later specializations and subclasses):
  • Adventurer: The ''physical'' specialist, much like the class you describe above. Saves the day and loot stuff by being the best at non-magical at-will skills, equipment proficiency, saves, physical attacks etc
  • Magi: The specialist of magic and lore skills, the magi can do reality bending stuff the adventurer can only dream of, but has to sacrifice resources, time and spell slot to do so.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Personally I'd temporarily mix the old Fighter and Rogue class, and let them be the ultimate "best at what anyone else can theoretically do class". A class with d12 HD, proficiency with all armor and weaponry, 4+ skills and tools with Expertise, Str/Con saves gradually expanding to other saves, 3 or more attacks eventually, etc.

Then using that as a baseline, chip off those qualities one by one to trade with other features to recreate the other martial classes.
Well now that is very interesting... that is a brilliant spark

The Hero - "While anyone can be the hero of the story you are the classic of legend and fiction: a champion, a berserk, a warlord, a soldier, a scout and brawler who lives or dies by knowledge of weaponry from your bare hands to the strategy and tactics of generals. You are the artist of the martial world whether as an act of instinct or as conscious intellectual pursuit and you can be the most adaptable of any in battle taking on any role to maximize your teams outcome while exploiting the ebbs and flows in which war thrives.

You can reach peaks of performance through extraordinary effort few others imagine, through discernment and discipline or deception and stealth. You can undermine the enemy, dragging them to their worst through acts or even your mere presence. In all conflicts your prodigal skills can exceed the scope of the natural, challenging the supernatural for you are not in a mundane world and rise to meet it. All these are your tools to do the seemingly impossible, for do them you must.

Beyond your extraordinary personal ability you're a team player often defending your allies, and your acts of heroics inspire the team to reach their peak and dig deep in the most difficult of battles where you excel, while your enemies falter and stumble to your presence. "
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Personally I'd temporarily mix the old Fighter and Rogue class, and let them be the ultimate "best at what anyone else can theoretically do class". A class with d12 HD, proficiency with all armor and weaponry, 4+ skills and tools with Expertise, Str/Con saves gradually expanding to other saves, 3 or more attacks eventually, etc.

Then using that as a baseline, chip off those qualities one by one to trade with other features to recreate the other martial classes.
Temporarily could mean when they reached Beowulf/Cu Chulainn or is it Gilgamesh/Lugh level (whatever that is). Maybe they could be "all of that" with bells on including the no longer dependent on items (like you see in even western heros like Lancelot/Beowulf but generally in the D&D Monk class)
 
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dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
The issue (IMO anyway) I've seen from many of the suggestions here is:

1. Fighters should not be focused on magical abilities. If you want to focus on magic, play something else. (There is too much magic overlap in 5E for me anyway, but that is a whole other issue... ;) )
2. Most of the good suggestions to make high level fighters better result in diminishing other classes (e.g. granting expertise).

I don't expect fighters to be able to do what anyone else can do, otherwise we wouldn't need other classes. I don't expect fighters' ability to match the high magic (6-9) of casters. Why? Because as earthshaking as some of those powers are, you get a handful (at best) a day. You don't even get any until 11th level, when fighters gain Extra Attack (2).

I agree with some others on things I miss from Fighters in AD&D is overall the best saves. But in 5E that was given to monks. And, of course, in AD&D Paladins and Rangers had the "best saves" as well being subclasses of Fighters.

Suggestions about endurance, etc. fit better with Barbarians IMO.
People who want more skills obviously fit better with Rogues.
And so on...

Too much of what a generic class ("Fighter") could do has been doled out to other classes.

So, what do I expect Fighters at high levels to excel at? FIGHTING. Throw in commanding, tactics, and such. Think of Achilles with his Myrmidons warriors. By tier 3 and definitely into tier 4, perhaps heroic feats (but many such things fit better with barbarians or other classes). Which again leads to the issue with Fighters--too much given to other classes.

Now, the idea of levels 1-10 being base and then 11-20 moving into focused isn't bad. You could really do this for all classes IMO. Fighters could (for people who want it) branch off into some magical abilities, or become warlords, or become weapon masters, or whatever different branches get developed for 11-20 levels. BUT... then you have the people who complain, "I have an idea for a PC, but don't want to wait until 14th level to see it fully developed." Which is a VALID point IMO (I'm not discounting such complaints!) and in general many PC builds should come "online" by level 6-8 as I see it.

I don't see why we can't have a subclass choice at levels 1-3 for each class and a (for lack of a better term) prestige class choice around levels 11-13? Your subclass features till advance as well, but now you will pick up maybe 3 prestige class features to go along with them.
 

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