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

Yep, I remember your list. None of those are what a high level fighter should be IMO. A couple are close, but most are "mysticy" versions I have no interest in, personally. Even the ones that are close, are generally over the top. But, that is because I don't like demigod or superhero games for D&D. If I wanted such things, I would put them in levels 21-30.


Completely agree. Which is why I said before it is very much a polar issue. :(
You could well be correct. But, in that light I also feel the move from 1 to 10 is too quick often IME. My preference of play is in the lower levels, capping around 12th maybe? That is why I developed both a L10 and L12 variant. It tamed down spellcasters who still got "high magic" but not as much, and allowed the full (or close to it) progression of class features otherwise. It kept HP generally lower over all with a cap at 12th, making many monsters viable threats at those levels (which by level 17-20 would be push overs until you used a dozen, which made little sense...).

My general progression for ability scores matches proficiency as closely as possible, so you won't likely see a 20 on my characters unless my proficiency is +5 or better. That is slower than the halfling and gnomes strongmen, but IMO allows the game to be more challenging without having to use more powerful monsters or tons of them.

I would be fine if the uber-fighters didn't really roll out until tier 4 maybe. I, for one, like WotC's base design of local hero, regional hero, continental (?) hero, and world hero for tiers 1-4 respectively.
Lets just clarify a few things. You have a preference for non-high level games, because you believe that tames down spellcasters to keep them from dominating play? You also refuse to accept mystic-y fighters.until past level 20?

Could you please then give some ideas for what the high (but not post-20) fighter could contribute to a party outside combat that would be as useful as the contribution that the spellcasters make? That you personally would find acceptable.
It may be that there is nothing, and we will have to accept that you just don't have anything constructive to offer the thread. But you've come up with interesting stuff before, so please take a shot.
 

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For everyone: Thoughts about mythic or fictional examples of fighters in this level range and their capabilities? I don't think any actual historical figures qualify - we're after examples that could hold their own in capability with other 10 - 20th level characters.

I'll throw out: Benedict of the Chronicles of Amber. Not just possibly the best swordsman in the world, but also master strategist. Almost impossible to take unawares not because of any superior senses, but simply because his knowledge of combat was so encompassing he calculated responses to threats that were purely theoretical.
 

For everyone: Thoughts about mythic or fictional examples of fighters in this level range and their capabilities? I don't think any actual historical figures qualify - we're after examples that could hold their own in capability with other 10 - 20th level characters.

I'll throw out: Benedict of the Chronicles of Amber. Not just possibly the best swordsman in the world, but also master strategist. Almost impossible to take unawares not because of any superior senses, but simply because his knowledge of combat was so encompassing he calculated responses to threats that were purely theoretical.

First off: That is awesome

But more importantly, I think in terms of combat fighters are "okay". They need a little bit of a push to go truly mythic, but that design space is easy to work in.

The harder part is figuring out how to give them more options outside of combat. I'm honestly kind of interested in those Heroic Surges being tossed around. The idea that the Fighter can spend one of these to not only succeed a check, but impose conditions makes a lot of sense. A fighter could roll an intimidation, spend a surge and scare the enemy so much that everyone within 10 ft is stunned for a round.

But then alternatively, they could end up ending the poisoned condition on someone, or understanding the tracks so well they can "see" the enemies who passed through (ie, not just 5 hobgoblins, but 5 hobgoblins in half-plate, wielding axes and shields, their packs are light and they are moving with the intent of hunters)

That feels right, to a degree, and gives us something to play with.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
First off: That is awesome

But more importantly, I think in terms of combat fighters are "okay". They need a little bit of a push to go truly mythic, but that design space is easy to work in.

The harder part is figuring out how to give them more options outside of combat. I'm honestly kind of interested in those Heroic Surges being tossed around. The idea that the Fighter can spend one of these to not only succeed a check, but impose conditions makes a lot of sense. A fighter could roll an intimidation, spend a surge and scare the enemy so much that everyone within 10 ft is stunned for a round.

But then alternatively, they could end up ending the poisoned condition on someone, or understanding the tracks so well they can "see" the enemies who passed through (ie, not just 5 hobgoblins, but 5 hobgoblins in half-plate, wielding axes and shields, their packs are light and they are moving with the intent of hunters)

That feels right, to a degree, and gives us something to play with.

yep. Out of combat is the question. combat changes and justifications are relatively easy.

The issue with heroic surges as mentioned above is that it’s a meta game mechanic. Superiority dice are as well to some extent but the level is just different. I think you’ll find a lot of pushback to that kind of mechanic.
 

Amhain

Explorer
But then alternatively, they could end up ending the poisoned condition on someone, or understanding the tracks so well they can "see" the enemies who passed through (ie, not just 5 hobgoblins, but 5 hobgoblins in half-plate, wielding axes and shields, their packs are light and they are moving with the intent of hunters)

Problem with giving the Fighter super tracking is that now they're treading on the Ranger's toes, design-wise. Especially the Magicless Ranger that seems to be a goal for this game. This is what I was talking about with all the other classes nibbling away at the Fighter. There's basically already a class for every mundane out-of-combat schtick. So how do you give Fighter these option without just making it the same as those classes.

One possibility, is to focus on flexibility out-of-combat, the same as it does in-combat. So the Fighter can do all those things. They can track, or schmooze, or sneak, or lead. But they may not be quite so good at it as the more specialized class. They won't track as well as Magicless Rangers. They won't schmooze or sneak as well as a socially- or stealth-oriented Rogues would. They won't lead as well as Warlords. But unlike those specialists, they can do fairly decently at any of those situations.

Should the Fighter should get a limited version of the 5e Bard's "Jack of all Trades" feature? Or perhaps have some "floating" Skill Proficiencies, that they can move around during a Long Rest? Maybe get 2 Expertises, but only 2 and at a later point than the Rogue?

Personally I like that third idea no matter what, because I like the idea of more people getting Expertise in general. Rogues should still get the most, and early, to protect their "skill monkey" role, but letting people choose what areas their character is just plain the best at outside of combat still seems like a good idea to add back some degrees to Proficiency beyond its present binary, without going back to Skill Points by level.
 

For everyone: Thoughts about mythic or fictional examples of fighters in this level range and their capabilities? I don't think any actual historical figures qualify - we're after examples that could hold their own in capability with other 10 - 20th level characters.

I'll throw out: Benedict of the Chronicles of Amber. Not just possibly the best swordsman in the world, but also master strategist. Almost impossible to take unawares not because of any superior senses, but simply because his knowledge of combat was so encompassing he calculated responses to threats that were purely theoretical.

Half the cast of Three Kingdoms, certainly. The Illiad, but there's some divine intervention going on in that story. Roland (song thereof), Rodrigo Diaz ("El Cid"). Any of the Knights of the Round Table. Cast of the Heike. Heroes out of Norse sagas, my knowledge in this area isn't extensive but Ragnarr Lothbrok (Lodbrok?) and his sons are names I do know.

Aside from straight-up prowess at hitting people mythical high-level fighters tend to have legendary equipment (Guan Yu and the Green Dragon Crescent Blade, Achilles and his seven-layered shield, that kind of thing), be particularly terrifying (Zhang Fei's lengendary shouting, Rodrigo Diaz running off an enemy army as a corpse propped up in armour on his horse at the end of the story), so courageous/pure-hearted that they can wander through other peoples' magics unaffected, and able to perform impossible physical feats or inspire others to do the same (only example off the top of my head is Liu Bei getting his horse to jump a river).

Part of the problem with doing anything with any of those is figuring out what overlaps with Paladin/Barbarian/Ranger. In the past when I've attempted to re-work D&D Fighter seldom survives as an independent class (usually gets rolled into "Knight" along with Paladin) just because so much of what it could do would step on the toes of another class.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Problem with giving the Fighter super tracking is that now they're treading on the Ranger's toes, design-wise. Especially the Magicless Ranger that seems to be a goal for this game. This is what I was talking about with all the other classes nibbling away at the Fighter. There's basically already a class for every mundane out-of-combat schtick. So how do you give Fighter these option without just making it the same as those classes.

One possibility, is to focus on flexibility out-of-combat, the same as it does in-combat. So the Fighter can do all those things. They can track, or schmooze, or sneak, or lead. But they may not be quite so good at it as the more specialized class. They won't track as well as Magicless Rangers. They won't schmooze or sneak as well as a socially- or stealth-oriented Rogues would. They won't lead as well as Warlords. But unlike those specialists, they can do fairly decently at any of those situations.

Should the Fighter should get a limited version of the 5e Bard's "Jack of all Trades" feature? Or perhaps have some "floating" Skill Proficiencies, that they can move around during a Long Rest? Maybe get 2 Expertises, but only 2 and at a later point than the Rogue?

Personally I like that third idea no matter what, because I like the idea of more people getting Expertise in general. Rogues should still get the most, and early, to protect their "skill monkey" role, but letting people choose what areas their character is just plain the best at outside of combat still seems like a good idea to add back some degrees to Proficiency beyond its present binary, without going back to Skill Points by level.

skills aren’t the solution IMO. A high level fighter could get +20 to all skills and it’s still a drop in the bucket.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Half the cast of Three Kingdoms, certainly. The Illiad, but there's some divine intervention going on in that story. Roland (song thereof), Rodrigo Diaz ("El Cid"). Any of the Knights of the Round Table. Cast of the Heike. Heroes out of Norse sagas, my knowledge in this area isn't extensive but Ragnarr Lothbrok (Lodbrok?) and his sons are names I do know.

Aside from straight-up prowess at hitting people mythical high-level fighters tend to have legendary equipment (Guan Yu and the Green Dragon Crescent Blade, Achilles and his seven-layered shield, that kind of thing), be particularly terrifying (Zhang Fei's lengendary shouting, Rodrigo Diaz running off an enemy army as a corpse propped up in armour on his horse at the end of the story), so courageous/pure-hearted that they can wander through other peoples' magics unaffected, and able to perform impossible physical feats or inspire others to do the same (only example off the top of my head is Liu Bei getting his horse to jump a river).

Part of the problem with doing anything with any of those is figuring out what overlaps with Paladin/Barbarian/Ranger. In the past when I've attempted to re-work D&D Fighter seldom survives as an independent class (usually gets rolled into "Knight" along with Paladin) just because so much of what it could do would step on the toes of another class.

I think you are on to something

rangers are the nature fighting man
Rogues the stealthy fighting man
Paladins the divine fighting man
Warlocks the magical fighting man
barbarians the angry fighting man
Monks the mystic martial arts fighting man

fighters are the fighting man for whatever is left.
 

Amhain

Explorer
fighters are the fighting man for whatever is left.

I think that's kinda my problem with the Class as it presently exists. Its lack of a strong theme means that it's hard to come up with out-of-combat stuff that's both at sufficiently awesome levels to feel like the character has any agency in the story, that still leaves the Class without a specific theme.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
So here is a concrete plan.

At level 1 you pick a profession:
Explorer
Ruler
Hero
Warlord
Cuthroat Merc

These give you access to talents. You gain 1 Talent per fighter level.

These explain why you fight, not how you fight.

T1 abilities are similar to "background" abilities from 5e already.

T2 abilities unlock at level 5. They are a step up; similar in impact to level 3-4 utility spells. Background features, writ large, at the least.

At level 11 you may pick an epic destiny. This is your destiny, not where you are, but where you are going.

Demigod
Chosen One
Dark Wanderer
Reborn King of Legend
Divine Incarnation
Supernatural Warrior
Christmas Tree

You aren't a demigod when you start the path; you are when you finish it.

These unlock T3 abilities. These compete with level 6 and 7 and 8 utility spells.

At level 17 your destiny unlocks. T4 abilities unlock, which are world shaking. They compete with level 9 utility spells. A returned ruler might be able to raise a host of 1000s of soldiers (or 100s of ghosts, say) to do a task as one such ability.

The goal is that these abilities are not damage, but utility.

At-will Jump is useful in combat, but it doesn't directly kill things.

This framework permits you to have a coherant reason why you can do extraordinary things. You continue being a fighter.
 
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6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Lets just clarify a few things. You have a preference for non-high level games, because you believe that tames down spellcasters to keep them from dominating play? You also refuse to accept mystic-y fighters.until past level 20?

Could you please then give some ideas for what the high (but not post-20) fighter could contribute to a party outside combat that would be as useful as the contribution that the spellcasters make? That you personally would find acceptable.
It may be that there is nothing, and we will have to accept that you just don't have anything constructive to offer the thread. But you've come up with interesting stuff before, so please take a shot.
First, thank you for the compliment. I know a lot of the stuff I come up with isn't for the majority of players, but I hope it helps some.

First, building off of some of the points others have made. I think adding (again, for lack of a better term) prestige subclasses at level 12 would help. For one thing, it adds more choices to the character, which many players seem to want. Prestige features could be at 12th, 16th, and 19th, mirroring the ASI levels, so they would be uniform across all classes. Putting them at other levels could certainly work as well.

Second, your focus is on out of combat. In combat isn't as hard, so I'll focus on a couple features for exploration and social that IMO could represent high level fighters.

These examples might work for a Warlord or Fighter-Lord-type fighter. These idea could affect your allies, or "forces", or something. The wording needs work, but you'll get the idea. Certain features might be once per short or long rest, or have multiple uses, or whatever. That would need some thinking over.

Inspired March. Your presence to those around you inspires them to push themselves further than they could go alone. Any creatures within 500 feet of you that you choose have their travel pace doubled and gain advantage on Constitution saving throws to resist exhaustion when participating in a Forced March. This benefit lasts until the creatures finish a long rest.

Search and Destroy. Your ability to find your enemy is unmatched. When forces under your command make Wisdom (Perception) checks to find a hidden creature, they can use your proficiency bonus instead of their own. Targets gain no bonus to their Dexterity (Stealth) checks due to half or three-quarters cover. If you engage in combat against a discovered target, the target has disadvantage on its initiative roll.

For social, perhaps something like:

Pure Awesomeness. (Sorry, just finished watching Kung-Fu Panda :) ) When you make a Charisma (Persuasion) check to change the attitude of creatures within 120 feet of you, creatures have the Charmed condition if they fail a Wisdom save. The DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. You can just this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier and regain all spent uses when you finish a short or long rest.

Commanding Presence. When you use give creatures orders, they tend to obey you. The creature must make a Wisdom saving throw follow your order as if affected by a Suggestion spell. The DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. You can just this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier and regain all spent uses when you finish a short or long rest.

So, those are just some quick thoughts. While something like Commanding Presence mimics magic, it isn't magic. The creature isn't actually charmed, which is why I wrote "as if affected by". The idea being you are so forceful in your commands that people seem compelled to obey them. Others might argue it is a fine line, but there are people IRL which seem to have this impact on others.

That's all I got for now? Thoughts?
 


Stalker0

Legend
Half the cast of Three Kingdoms, certainly. The Illiad, but there's some divine intervention going on in that story.

I keep hearing the Illiad as an example of high level adventuring. In my head, I can’t see it bring higher than 10th level or so, but I don't know the story as well as others. What in the Iliad would showcase the craziest you see st like 15th level or so.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
I really see the "leader type" / charismatic fighter dabbling into bard territory and I don't think that this is a bad idea. They both fall into the niche of being inspirational, but where the bard uses magic and song and artistry, the leader fighter uses rhetoric, deeds and presence. In previous editions, this could have been a problem, but the 5e bard is so much a spellcaster that it doesn't hurt the class to have one competitor in that field.

Just some random thoughts:

  • Maybe make the fighter grant inspiration?
  • let the fighter have some means of giving advantage to other party members (in and out of combat)
  • some stuff with intimidation. Death stare. Command.
  • grant action surges
  • Diplomacy. Something with respect. Don't know... but fighter types tend to be the "leaders" of their teams, especially if there is no paladin available

Fighters in general:
  • Some sort of Lucky feat, called "too awesome to fail" which they can use on skills and saves
  • Don't know id this fits, but "feat of legend" - make one called nat20 / day. Maybe useable on skills only.
 

Amhain

Explorer
I really see the "leader type" / charismatic fighter dabbling into bard territory and I don't think that this is a bad idea. They both fall into the niche of being inspirational, but where the bard uses magic and song and artistry, the leader fighter uses rhetoric, deeds and presence. In previous editions, this could have been a problem, but the 5e bard is so much a spellcaster that it doesn't hurt the class to have one competitor in that field.

Just some random thoughts:

  • Maybe make the fighter grant inspiration?
  • let the fighter have some means of giving advantage to other party members (in and out of combat)
  • some stuff with intimidation. Death stare. Command.
  • grant action surges
  • Diplomacy. Something with respect. Don't know... but fighter types tend to be the "leaders" of their teams, especially if there is no paladin available

Fighters in general:
  • Some sort of Lucky feat, called "too awesome to fail" which they can use on skills and saves
  • Don't know id this fits, but "feat of legend" - make one called nat20 / day. Maybe useable on skills only.

This is sounding a lot like what the Warlord is likely going to wind up being, if it resembles the 4th edition class it's named after.
 

I keep hearing the Illiad as an example of high level adventuring. In my head, I can’t see it bring higher than 10th level or so, but I don't know the story as well as others. What in the Iliad would showcase the craziest you see st like 15th level or so.

It's sort of hard to say, really; the difficulty with "fighters" is that a high-level fighter does very much the same kinds of things as a low-level fighter. I bring up Three Kingdoms and the Illiad because the narrative presents folks like Achilles and Guan Yu as epic heroes that are the pinnacle of fighting prowess running about slaughtering hordes of lesser folks, and because if they're not high-level then I don't know what is.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Inspired March. Your presence to those around you inspires them to push themselves further than they could go alone. Any creatures within 500 feet of you that you choose have their travel pace doubled and gain advantage on Constitution saving throws to resist exhaustion when participating in a Forced March. This benefit lasts until the creatures finish a long rest.

That's all I got for now? Thoughts?
It is about appropriate for the lower tier and maybe low heroic tier (and may be the best you can get out normal joes)
Here is my thought include scaling so around 7 to 10, allow other creatures who are themselves level 7 to 10 to pump it up to 3x and at 11 to 14 call it 4x and at 15+ 5x you are basically full sprint almost like Gilgamesh. Due to mounts it will usually be pushing heroic class mounts. And your Griffon being fricken awesomely fast without dying on you will be fun anyway.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's all I got for now? Thoughts?
Did you consider an intimidation one basically the Chainmail Hero by his mere presence was able to route hordes of enemies from the field. It's as much a generic fighter AND warlord function. You can shake their nerves so they make mistakes too.. its not just an all or nothing thing.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
A passive version the Champion might like enemies facing him and his allies get a critical failure range representing the impact of his presence (insert wacky fun table to screw with bad guys vividly here)
 

Stalker0

Legend
I bring up Three Kingdoms and the Illiad because the narrative presents folks like Achilles and Guan Yu as epic heroes that are the pinnacle of fighting prowess running about slaughtering hordes of lesser folks, and because if they're not high-level then I don't know what is.

I think this actually reflects another part of the problem, a lot of people don’t know what high level looks like, as most fantasy fiction isn’t that high.

I once again point to avengers and other marvel movies, as those may be some of the best narrative inspiration for 11th+ level adventuring.

magics that can bend space and time, dealing with “world ending threats” in a day, going against aliens and Monsters unstoppable to all but fellow super heroes... those movies have a lot of the threat I would escribe to high level dnd, so probably a group like the avengers is one of the closest narrative equivalents to high level play.

So with in mind, Thor is probably the best model of high level fighter we have in recent narratives.
 

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