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5E yes, this again: Fighters need more non-combat options

CubicsRube

Registered User
Decipher script makes sense for the classic treasure hunter vibe of the class. I like it.

If you wanted to introduce a tactical concept, perhaps a second level feature could be something along the lines of:

Military tactician - At second level you gain the ability to understand patrols and military fortifications. You can reasonably guess how many entry and exit points may be in a building or structure, including caves and ruins. You can also guess at typical patrol practices of various humanoids. These need not be true, only what is typical. The gm has the final say.

Or to double down on the baron lord concept:
Heraldry - at 2nd level you gain the ability to recall leaders, nobles and other notable people of various humanoid civilizations throughout the world. You can recognise their heraldry, their sigils on communications, and basic facts about their position in the political landscape.

The above are kind of janky and needs cleaning up, but you get the idea
 

CubicsRube

Registered User
You've got me thinking about this now [MENTION=20323]Quickleaf[/MENTION]

I think it'd be good for a number of classes. For example a wizard should be able to gain some research abilities, etc.

Not sure if it's worth creating a feature for it though.

I shall ponder it more!
 

Mistwell

Adventurer
I always assume there will never be errata for things like this, but there might be added features which can address some concerns without invalidating games which use the existing rules. With that in mind, I wonder if something could be done with the Downtime rules to allow fighters to gain some non combat abilities in a way which does not involve altering the core class?

For example, let's say you want to introduce a networking group oriented towards fighters, with emphasis on military, guards, knights, bounty hunters, gladiators, weapon trainers, and related types. They'd have their own short hand language, contacts, benefits of being a member of the network, etc.. This sort of thing seems to fit well in the existing downtime rules, particularly those found in Xanathar's Guide. The only addition is you're adding a requirement that you be a fighter to qualify for that downtime activity. Which doesn't seem like much of a leap to me, as there are existing downtime activities which are already oriented towards particular classes, like Pit Fighting, Scribing a Scroll, Religious Service, etc..

You could introduce a series of class-oriented downtime activities, and interesting out of combat benefits to them, without altering the core rules. You could even reduce the costs for fighter-oriented activities, and increase the benefits relative to some other activities, without too much complaint I suspect (provided you worded it well).
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
And...to flog this dead horse...if either character narrated/acted an especially compelling argument that I thought would be effective on the NPC, I wouldn't require a roll. (To be clear: I'm not evaluating the quality of the voice acting, nor even 'what the NPC would do', but just 'does it make a good story if the NPC does/doesn't find this persuasive?')

Thus, in some sub-set of cases (those in which the outcome is in doubt for the DM) the +5 warlock is 10% more persuasive than the +3 fighter.

And yet some people interpret that to mean that the fighter is useless outside of combat.
And I'll kick said horse by saying that it goes the other way as well. If that 8 charisma fighter gave an NPC a great reason to be persuaded, success would be automatic.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
In real life, a group making an argument can be more persuasive than an individual. In the game world, it isn't necessarily so. (Or if the DM implements Advantage in that case, then that's how the game world actually works; and the characters would behave accordingly, since they actually live in that world.)
Everything I said works for individuals, too. I've found out about players who don't persuade as well as I do going to the DM to talk, rather than get me.

Or maybe everyone is arguing a different point, in which case everyone should be making an attempt, because nobody else is on their side. One of the assumptions behind the fighter being useless out-of-combat is that everyone is working toward the same goal; although, admittedly, that's a pretty safe assumption for the really important checks.
Working towards the same goal is not really relevant as different people will have different arguments that all work towards the same goal.

If you stop treating your character like a person who live in the real world, and start treating them like a person who lives in the game world, then your belief about how the real world works wouldn't corrupt the way they make decisions. Meta-gaming is explicitly against the rules.
Preaching to me about metagaming and then providing an example of you blatantly metagaming is pretty epic fail. Every time you treat your PC like a person who lives in a game and have him act accordingly by say, not talking in order to get the warlock to speak, you are metagaming.

The way NOT to metagame is to explicitly NOT act like the PC is in a game and treat him like a person living in a world. A person in a world isn't going to stop talking and tap the warlock on the shoulder to do his speaking for him.


I guess that goes down to your definition of "meaningfully".
A good chance of success. Most DCs are very low in 5e.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Great post. Extremely well said and probably a lot better than I've stated my position in this thread. The thing is, 5E does a really job of balancing the rules vs. role-playing dilemma, and definitely better than 3rd and 4rd edition (which were much more mechanics and number-heavy). However, the "problem" still exists.
Yeah. The fighter has 9 non-combat skills to pick 2 proficiencies from, and then gets two more from background. 5e does a great job of giving fighters a way to participate in non-combat events, and that's if the player limits himself to just those 4 skills, rather than just participating in things anyway.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
Working towards the same goal is not really relevant as different people will have different arguments that all work towards the same goal.
If you want the fighter to help the warlock at the task, then that's one thing, if the DM allows it. In real life, two people working together may be more likely to succeed (as long as one isn't grossly incompetent). That's not an argument for why the fighter should be the one doing the thing, instead of the warlock doing it, if only one gets to try.

I know that some DMs are more willing to let everyone make a check, and move forward if anyone gets a good roll, so the fighter would definitely be contributing in that case; but they wouldn't be contributing much more than the untrained wizard, who is only -3 on the check relative to the fighter. Other DMs are less inclined to let everyone make a check, because rolling 4d20 is going to get at least one high roll, regardless of modifiers; and in those cases, the fighter can't really justify acting in place of the warlock, assuming they actually want to succeed.
Preaching to me about metagaming and then providing an example of you blatantly metagaming is pretty epic fail. Every time you treat your PC like a person who lives in a game and have him act accordingly by say, not talking in order to get the warlock to speak, you are metagaming.
Any time you make a decision based on how things work in our world, as compared to how things work in their world, you are meta-gaming. Ideally, the rules of the game world should be close enough to the rules of our real world that the difference wouldn't be jarring; but that's not always the case.
The way NOT to metagame is to explicitly NOT act like the PC is in a game and treat him like a person living in a world. A person in a world isn't going to stop talking and tap the warlock on the shoulder to do his speaking for him.
It really depends on the situation at hand. I was imagining the henchperson being tied up, and somebody interrogating them after they wake up. In that case, everyone has time to sit down and collaborate on how to move forward. If you're in the middle of combat, or some other time-sensitive situation, then you may have to make-do with what you have.
A good chance of success. Most DCs are very low in 5e.
If the fighter manages to save a few SP by haggling the innkeeper down, that doesn't seem particularly meaningful to me. To me, an action is meaningful if it has significant consequences, like if you convince the henchperson to reveal the location of the Big Bad's lair.

If an action is so trivial that you don't even care enough to let the better speaker make the attempt, then it's probably not very meaningful in a campaign sense.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
If you want the fighter to help the warlock at the task, then that's one thing, if the DM allows it. In real life, two people working together may be more likely to succeed (as long as one isn't grossly incompetent). That's not an argument for why the fighter should be the one doing the thing, instead of the warlock doing it, if only one gets to try.
And the untrained warlock having a higher charisma isn't a very good argument for why the trained fighter shouldn't be the one doing the thing. The fighter is the one who is going to know the tricks, methods, etc. It's both logical and fine for either one to perform the act, being aided by the other. PCs don't sit around tallying how many more times the warlock persuaded people successfully than the fighter, so they aren't going to know much more than both are good at persuasion, and they wouldn't be able to account for the d20 luck factor even if they tried.

It really depends on the situation at hand. I was imagining the henchperson being tied up, and somebody interrogating them after they wake up. In that case, everyone has time to sit down and collaborate on how to move forward. If you're in the middle of combat, or some other time-sensitive situation, then you may have to make-do with what you have.
Sometimes there is a situation where only one person can make an attempt. Usually, though, the situation is not not so cut and dry.

Any time you make a decision based on how things work in our world, as compared to how things work in their world, you are meta-gaming. Ideally, the rules of the game world should be close enough to the rules of our real world that the difference wouldn't be jarring; but that's not always the case.
Any time the PC acts like he is in a game with his decisions on who gets to do what, it is also metagaming. You are making decisions based on how things work in the real world(game rules). And it's a more egregious offense than giving the PC a realistic personality(this isn't metagaming at all).

If an action is so trivial that you don't even care enough to let the better speaker make the attempt, then it's probably not very meaningful in a campaign sense.
It's not normal for this to take place. When someone is speaking to the group, he is speaking to the GROUP, not just the warlock. It would often be rude and offensive for the rest of the party to sit silent.
 

Markh3rd

Explorer
I play a DeX based elven Eldritch knight. He switch hits between rapier and shield or bow. He can tank, support with ranged damage, do magic damage, stealth, and has knowledge due to higher intelligence. He is a blast to play and I have never felt he was useless in or out of combat.
 
Still think this is very group-dependent.

If we look at it, there are two ways of handling persuasion. You let the player state what he does and decide on how well it was done if a roll is needed, if it is at advantage, a normal roll or even disadvantage. Or, you let the player roll and ask him to act it out well / bad depending on roll result.

But what's better is still pretty depending on your player. There could be a fighter that got 14 Cha just because his player sees him more as the talker. If I then never ask for rolls and just let people succeed based on how they role-play, he might feel he wasted his point in Cha (especially if he's not the good talker in real life). But there might also be a player who doesn't really care for mechanics and stats at all and just wants to roll play and he will probably prefer his good role-playing to be rewarded.

As a DM it might be a bit hard to tell what your players enjoy the most at times, so I'd advise any player to just talk to his DM if something hinders his enjoyment.

In this case, the player already did that, though from the OP it's not quite clear yet what the actual problem is. So the first thing I'd do is talk with that player and figure out why he thinks his fighter has nothing to do out-of-combat. I'd ask him how he sees his character. What should he be good at out-of-combat? Does he have an issue because of the bad skill modifiers or does he have an issue because the rules don't list fighter-specific actions you can do out-of-combat and he has a hard time making up ideas himself?
 
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Sadras

Explorer
Like others have said, the Fighter class is your blank slate Warrior class, it can be the easiest or it can be the most engaging class and this all depends on the player.

Other Warrior classes include the Ranger, the Paladin, the Rogue, the Barbarian and the Monk, even the Cleric and versions of the Druid. But they all come with a built in interest-defined chassis. The Fighter is your blank slate, your clear window, your white canvas. It needs the player to define the theme of the character or it doesn't, depending on your preferred style of play.

IMO the class is perfect the way it is.

And if it isn't perfect for you and your table, the 5e engine is easy enough to pull and twist things in a way that will allow you to please your gaming group.

I suggest those that wish to modify the base class, to take a serious look at the Fighter Kits in the 2e Fighter's Handbook* for inspiration. Furthermore I strongly recommend new players to read through that book to gain a better understanding of the Fighter class. One can easily ignore the outdated mechanics.

* It's been updated for 5e use on an Enworld thread.
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
But what's better is still pretty depending on your player. There could be a fighter that got 14 Cha just because his player sees him more as the talker. If I then never ask for rolls and just let people succeed based on how they role-play, he might feel he wasted his point in Cha (especially if he's not the good talked in real life). But there might also be a player who doesn't really care for mechanics and stats at all and just wants to roll play and he will probably prefer his good role-playing to be rewarded.
If the DM is doing his job, it's not one or the other, but rather a combination of the two. If the player isn't a good talker, but has a 14 charisma, then even if what he's saying is coming out in a stutter and stumble, I'm going to understand what he is trying to say and filter that through his 14 charisma when figuring out if the result is auto success, auto failure, or in doubt and requires a roll. Similarly, if the most eloquent player is telling me what his character says, I'm going to filter that through his PC's 8 charisma when figuring out the result.

The idea behind what the PC is saying matters, though. The best idea in the world isn't going to fail because of a low charisma or ineloquent player, and the worst idea isn't going to succeed because of a high charisma or eloquent player.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
And the untrained warlock having a higher charisma isn't a very good argument for why the trained fighter shouldn't be the one doing the thing. The fighter is the one who is going to know the tricks, methods, etc. It's both logical and fine for either one to perform the act, being aided by the other. PCs don't sit around tallying how many more times the warlock persuaded people successfully than the fighter, so they aren't going to know much more than both are good at persuasion, and they wouldn't be able to account for the d20 luck factor even if they tried.
It's not a matter of characters actively tallying their own successes and failures. The entire world works this way, so the characters would have been passively absorbing that for their entire lives. It should be common sense, for everyone in the world, that skill and training are no match for natural talent.

Any time the PC acts like he is in a game with his decisions on who gets to do what, it is also metagaming. You are making decisions based on how things work in the real world(game rules). And it's a more egregious offense than giving the PC a realistic personality(this isn't metagaming at all).
The game world is a different place from the real world, and you're ignoring that fact. There's nothing "realistic" about having your character act based on real-world physics rather than game-world physics.
 
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cfmcdonald

Villager
It's not a matter of characters actively tallying their own successes and failures. The entire world works this way, so the characters would have been passively absorbing that for their entire lives. It should be common sense, for everyone in the world, that skill and training are no match for natural talent.

The game world is a different place from the real world, and you're ignoring that fact. There's nothing "realistic" about having your character act based on real-world physics rather than game-world physics.
I think this gets metagaming completely backwards. Metagaming is using OOC knowledge for IC decisions. IC the characters due not know the rules of the game they inhabit. The rules of the game are an intentionally hyper-simplified abstraction of their reality. The characters are presumed to live in a 'real' fantasy world that is vastly more complex and 'noisy' than the simulation, and basically like our world, except magic. Saying "I have a +5 and you only have a +3, so I should make the check" is exactly what metagaming is. Saying "I am a renowned warrior, I will deal with this leader, he will not respect a scrawny dealer in dark secrets like yourself", is the opposite of metagaming, i.e. acting like your character, irrespective of what the 'best' result is in the outer game model.
 
Still think this is very group-dependent.

If we look at it, there are two ways of handling persuasion. You let the player state what he does and decide on how well it was done if a roll is needed, if it is at advantage, a normal roll or even disadvantage. Or, you let the player roll and ask him to act it out well / bad depending on roll result.

But what's better is still pretty depending on your player. There could be a fighter that got 14 Cha just because his player sees him more as the talker. If I then never ask for rolls and just let people succeed based on how they role-play, he might feel he wasted his point in Cha (especially if he's not the good talked in real life). But there might also be a player who doesn't really care for mechanics and stats at all and just wants to roll play and he will probably prefer his good role-playing to be rewarded.

As a DM it might be a bit hard to tell what your players enjoy the most at times, so I'd advise any player to just talk to his DM if something hinders his enjoyment.

In this case, the player already did that, though from the OP it's not quite clear yet what the actual problem is. So the first thing I'd do is talk with that player and figure out why he thinks his fighter has nothing to do out-of-combat. I'd ask him how he sees his character. What should he be good at out-of-combat? Does he have an issue because of the bad skill modifiers or does he have an issue because the rules don't list fighter-specific actions you can do out-of-combat and he has a hard time making up ideas himself?
Back in 3e, there was a blog post on Giant in the Playground that presented a different way to handle the Diplomacy skill, in which relationship & risk vs. reward judgment applied substantial modifiers. I think there's a salient lesson from that post which can be applied to your examination of Charisma checks:

Acting a role in a convincing manner and establishing a convincing line of reasoning are two separate skills, either (or both) of which can apply to interacting with a NPC.

A player who is not a good actor him or herself can still apply convincing reasoning toward a parlay or negotiation or crafting a reasonable lie. As a DM I've ruled automatic successes (i.e. no need to roll) in both cases.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
I think this gets metagaming completely backwards. Metagaming is using OOC knowledge for IC decisions.
We agree on the definition, at least.
IC the characters due not know the rules of the game they inhabit. The rules of the game are an intentionally hyper-simplified abstraction of their reality. The characters are presumed to live in a 'real' fantasy world that is vastly more complex and 'noisy' than the simulation, and basically like our world, except magic.
Agreed. Their world is complex, and the rules in the book are a simplification of those rules. It is basically like our world, except as noted.
Saying "I have a +5 and you only have a +3, so I should make the check" is exactly what metagaming is.
They wouldn't know the numbers, based on the rules in the book; but they would understand the more-complex reality, which those rules reflect. Remember, they actually live in this world, and they see a million subtle details that emphasize who is better at this sort of thing.

You might think that training is more important than talent, but that's only true about our real world, and not the game world. The rules in the book tell us that this is one of those areas where the game world is different, in the same way that it has magic and elves.
Saying "I am a renowned warrior, I will deal with this leader, he will not respect a scrawny dealer in dark secrets like yourself", is the opposite of metagaming, i.e. acting like your character, irrespective of what the 'best' result is in the outer game model.
That's only true if your character cares more about his image than he cares about success, which is an unfair burden to put on a player. Nobody should be forced to act irrationally in order to participate in the game.

The fighter should know that the warlock is better at this, because it's true, and all evidence supports that truth. Claiming that he's better suited to the task than the warlock is, because he's a renowned warrior, is a weak argument; and everyone knows that it's a weak argument, because evidence doesn't support it. (Unless the DM introduces new rules to support the claim, in which case that would be the truth.)
 

cfmcdonald

Villager
We agree on the definition, at least.
Agreed. Their world is complex, and the rules in the book are a simplification of those rules. It is basically like our world, except as noted.
They wouldn't know the numbers, based on the rules in the book; but they would understand the more-complex reality, which those rules reflect. Remember, they actually live in this world, and they see a million subtle details that emphasize who is better at this sort of thing.

You might think that training is more important than talent, but that's only true about our real world, and not the game world. The rules in the book tell us that this is one of those areas where the game world is different, in the same way that it has magic and elves.
That's only true if your character cares more about his image than he cares about success, which is an unfair burden to put on a player. Nobody should be forced to act irrationally in order to participate in the game.

The fighter should know that the warlock is better at this, because it's true, and all evidence supports that truth. Claiming that he's better suited to the task than the warlock is, because he's a renowned warrior, is a weak argument; and everyone knows that it's a weak argument, because evidence doesn't support it. (Unless the DM introduces new rules to support the claim, in which case that would be the truth.)
How do they know this without inspecting each other's character sheets? I work in software, and I think I'm better at it that many of my peers, but I'm sure many of those same peers think they are better than me. How do we know which is right? It's in fact very hard to know/prove because it's a complex domain with noisy outcomes, sort of like persuading people.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
The fighter should know that the warlock is better at this, because it's true, and all evidence supports that truth. Claiming that he's better suited to the task than the warlock is, because he's a renowned warrior, is a weak argument; and everyone knows that it's a weak argument, because evidence doesn't support it. (Unless the DM introduces new rules to support the claim, in which case that would be the truth.)
This is just not true in an ingame sense. I think a lot of this discussion forgets the Social Interaction section in the DMG pg. 244. NPCs have a starting attitude of friendly, indifferent, and hostile. That attitude isn't going to be the same for every PC in the group. In many situations, the Warlock will be looking at a hostile reaction compared to a fighter looking at a indifferent or even friendly attitude. In many cases having certain PCs present might sour the social interaction.

The reason this topic is even an issue is that the GM isn't doing their job of creating interesting NPCs. If all of the NPCs are 1-dimensional and that a simple CHA check will determine the interaction, then yes the fighter is at a disadvantage.

However, with all other factors being equal, a fighter is going to have a better starting attitude with most NPCs than a warlock.

When NPCs are actually fleshed out, then social interactions become much more interesting.

This is the reason why I find much of the discussion so strange about how the fighter is at a disadvantage here. Fighters have more non-combat options in this edition than any other. IME, they never suffered in previous version and were usually the leader of the party.

Ironically, paladins were typically not good in social situation due to their built-in ideology (and usually created more issues because of the mandatory LG alignment). Also, for almost every other class CHA was a dump stat.

In my current group, the warlock player is so bad at social interactions that the rest of the party won't let him speak. Because despite his high CHA he actually says things in character that completely sabotage most every social interaction. His faux pas are legendary.

Stats are just not the whole story. Backgrounds, NPC attitudes, Roleplay by the player all are much more important than Deception/Intimidation/Persuasion rolls.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
How do they know this without inspecting each other's character sheets? I work in software, and I think I'm better at it that many of my peers, but I'm sure many of those same peers think they are better than me. How do we know which is right? It's in fact very hard to know/prove because it's a complex domain with noisy outcomes, sort of like persuading people.
The real world is a more complex domain than the game world is. In the game world, Charisma applies equally to all charisma-based skills, so you can judge how well a warlock persuades someone based on how well they can dance (or more-to-the-point, how strong their spells are); just as you can estimate someone's ability to climb or swim, based on how well they swing an axe.

Yes, there is noise, and that noise can make it difficult to see the relevant factors. The d20 roll does a good job of modeling that (you need a lot of data, before the underlying factors can be felt, but the actually relevant factors are fairly straightforward (far more-so than in real life), and the correlations are always true. You don't survive to adulthood, witnessing thousands of data samples going by each day, without picking up the trends.
 

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