A simple (modular) solution to the Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard problem

It would seem that the most commonly discussed (and fought over) topic on these forums is how the 5th edition fighter should look, what the class should represent, what it should (or shouldn't) do in and out of combat, that sort of thing. Thinking about the problems facing the fighter, I've come up with a short list:

*The fighter is an "all combat" class. Fighters in every edition of the game (including 4th edition) get the lowest number of skills/non-weapon proficiencies/skill training slots. All of a fighters "perks" (class abilities in all editions, bonus feats in 3.0 and 3.5, powers in 4th edition) are all directly or indirectly related to killing things. I own the 2nd edition, 3.5 edition, and 4th edition players handbook, as well as Skills and Powers(2nd Edition) and Martial Power. And I can say that after having read all of those books, the fighter comes up last with regard to the options it has that don't involve stabbing things repeatedly.

Why this is a problem: Every other class that's ended up in a players handbook has had multiple niches in various areas of the game. While the effectiveness of the class in those niches certainly varied, and balance was by no means assured it was at least intended by the designers that these classes have a variety of strengths. Examples include:

Barbarian: Stabbing Things, Wilderness Lore, Animalistic Powers
Druid: Spells (Which enable a wide variety of activities), minions capable of a wide variety of things, wilderness lore
Bard: Diplomacy, Combat, Roguish Skills.
Assassins: Shadow Magic, Roguish Skills, Combat, Poison Use.
Wizard: Knowledge Skills, Spells (which can duplicate most abilities seen above)

And on and on...every other class has several defining niches other than being useful in combat except for the Fighter. Throughout all editions, they have been defined as only skilled at combat leaving the player of the fighter to twiddle his thumbs when it comes time to disarm a trap, hob-knob with nobility, or banish a demon. The fighter is less Sir Arthur or Conan and more like dumb muscle that's only useful in problem-solving when he or she can bash the problem upside the head.

*The Fighter is commonly eclipsed by spellcasters in combat To add insult to injury, in most editions of D&D it is simpler and easier to have a spellcaster deal with a foe than to have a fighter wade in and slog it out in melee. In most editions, spellcasters can supplant the fighter with summoned minions, protect themselves with long-duration magics, and supplement their spellcasting resources with wands and other multi-use magic items that could deal damage comparable to that of the fighter (or else kill or neutralize an opponent with one hit). Save or dies, and save or sucks such as Dominate Monster or Charm Person have a wide-ranging impact on the battlefield that fighters in most editions can't keep up with without severe optimization. In many cases, wizards and other spellcasters have to "play nice" in order for fighters in high-level parties to not feel like the 3rd wheel.

If these forums (and my personal experiences) are anything to go by, it's also not a problem only suffered by groups with "problem players" or "power gamers". In many games of D&D, I've noticed my or another players spellcaster (optomized or not) eclipsing the group's fighter as early as 4th or 5th level both out of combat (admittedly easy) and in combat (which is supposed to be a fighter's specialty).

The 3.5 Book of the Nine Swords and 4th edition made significant inroads towards solving that problem (and it's arguable that 4th edition solved it entirely) but the "flavor" of those solutions is anathema to some individuals that prefer the simpler fighter of older editions. While I myself am not among those individuals (I see nothing video-gamey or "superheroic" about the feats a 4th edition fighter is capable of), I can understand that the changes are not to everyone's taste.

Why this is a problem: If fighters are going to be "100% Combat" then they at least need to be masters of it, the go-to guys for when the **** starts hitting the fan and the blood starts flying. It's often disappointing to have all of your character's eggs in one basket, but it's even more disappointing when you don't even have as many eggs as everyone else on the farm. Having a players handbook tell prospective players that the fighter is the class to choose if you want to be amazing at killing things with weapons, and then not delivering on it is horrible game design.

*The fighter doesn't have any commonly agreed upon abilities other than being "good at combat": As I've said before, every other class has many declared "niches" where their talents shine. The paladin takes the forefront in fights against evil, can heal and deal with undead, and is a steadfast warrior and potential party "face". It's class abilities (to a greater or lesser extent) throughout the editions have all tried to support those niches-immunity to fear, smite evil, the training in charisma based skills etc.

The fighter doesn't have any of that-beyond having high HP, and lots of weapon and armor proficencies there's really not a lot that a fighter from one edition shares mechanically with a fighter from another (besides often being underwhelming mechanically). In 1st edition they were defined by: best weapons, best armor, best HP, iterative attacks at no penalty, followers. Second edition gave them: Best weapons, best armor, best hp, specialization, iterative attacks and followers. Third edition took away their best-hp claim and neutered their specialization, while giving them...bonus feats that weren't nearly as powerful or interesting as class features or spells. 4th edition gave them the title of the best defender, a bevy of useful and interesting powers, while further diminishing their ability to specialize; but did make them a mechanically significant class.

Why this is a problem: People can't arrive at a consensus as to how they want the fighter. Some folks want a simple "I hit it with my sword" style fighter with big hp, the best armor class, and lots of attacks. Some want a dedicated defender with a wide variety of powers and maneuvers, some want a weapon-specialist with a few tricks, some want a combination of all of the above options. Most people want everyone to be able to get what they want and have it all be relatively balanced (so that one person can have the simple fighter, the next can have the 4th edition fighter, the third can have the 3.5 fighter upgraded to mechanical usefulness, and the last can have some strange hybrid of all of the editions).

*The Fighter's Resource Mechanic is out of pace with that of spellcasters Fighters in most editions only have 1 resource that matters: their hitpoints. Only late 3.5 and 4th edition changed that, and did so in a way that not everyone liked. If fighters are balanced against what spellcasters can do all day, then they will fall short when compared to their daily abilities and if they are balanced with regard to caster dailies then they end up overpowering casters.

Why this is a problem: Sucking all day isn't going to beat out rocking the hell out of 5 minutes. It's not fun for the player in question, and such a difference encourages the dreaded "5 minute workday", wherein everyone rests so that the spellcaster can get his mojo back. The obvious solution that 3.5 and 4th edition tried was to give fighters daily resources of their own, but this is one of those things that split the fandom (something wizards is trying to avoid).


What you've all been waiting for (my solution to the problem):

The basis chassis of the fighter will be this:

Highest HP in the game
Best access to armor (which should mean best armor class) in the game
Best weapon selection
Iterative attacks at no penalty, that can be done after moving
Open skills (this is something that should be given to every class-being able to choose skills that fit your character, rather than those that fit your class)

This gives the fighter a measure of out of combat utility while cementing them as the primary mover and shaker in combat. Toning down the wizard and other spellcaster's game-breaker spells is also important, but doing so will enable a simple 1st edition fighter type to compete with everyone on a fairly level playing field. Doing such a thing is not impossible (the 4th edition slayer is an example of a simple fighter-style class that can hold it's own in combat) Now here's where things get tricky...what about daily powers and stances? What about weapon specialization? What about utility or out of combat abilities? What about followers and a keep?

Feats my friend...feats. I imagine that 5th edition will have a similar basic "1st edition" chassis for each character class that distills it down to it's most basic abilities with everything else available as feats. So if the fighter wants a daily ability, they spend a feat to get it. Want a stance? They get spend a feat! Passive specialization? Feat! Followers? Feat! If the base class is balanced (and once again, the slayer has shown us that it is possible to do an at-will based class that is balanced with one that follows a more daily power scheme) and the feats are just gravy that is equally shelled out to every class then there will be no problem with balance.

So you might see 3 level 1 fighters all with:

High HP
Best Armor
Best Weapons
Iterative Attacks at no penalty useable while moving
Open Skills

But one of them has:

Defenders Aura (-2 to opponents engaged with the fighter if they choose to attack anyone else, plus an opportunity attack or similar action if they move away).

and another has:

Followers (You get 1 steadfast follower that scales in level with you, as well as a number of non-combat servants and such that see to your needs and handle your affairs for you)

and still another has:

Weapon specialization (you get extra damage and attack bonus when using a given weapon, and get a cool passive effect when you hit with it-pushing enemies back with a mace, or striking like a surgeon with a crossbow against even heavily armored opponents).

So one would be more like a 2nd edition fighter, one would be more like an essentials or 3.5 fighter, and the third would resemble a 4th edition fighter but they would all be on approximately the same page balance wise.

Sound good?


It would seem that the most commonly discussed (and fought over) topic on these forums is how the 5th edition fighter should look, what the class should represent, what it should (or shouldn't) do in and out of combat, that sort of thing. Thinking about the problems facing the fighter, I've come up with a short list:

*The fighter is an "all combat" class. Fighters in every edition of the game (including 4th edition) get the lowest number of skills/non-weapon proficiencies/skill training slots. All of a fighters "perks" (class abilities in all editions, bonus feats in 3.0 and 3.5, powers in 4th edition) are all directly or indirectly related to killing things. I own the 2nd edition, 3.5 edition, and 4th edition players handbook, as well as Skills and Powers(2nd Edition) and Martial Power. And I can say that after having read all of those books, the fighter comes up last with regard to the options it has that don't involve stabbing things repeatedly.

Why this is a problem: Every other class that's ended up in a players handbook has had multiple niches in various areas of the game. While the effectiveness of the class in those niches certainly varied, and balance was by no means assured it was at least intended by the designers that these classes have a variety of strengths. Examples include:

Barbarian: Stabbing Things, Wilderness Lore, Animalistic Powers
Druid: Spells (Which enable a wide variety of activities), minions capable of a wide variety of things, wilderness lore
Bard: Diplomacy, Combat, Roguish Skills.
Assassins: Shadow Magic, Roguish Skills, Combat, Poison Use.
Wizard: Knowledge Skills, Spells (which can duplicate most abilities seen above)

And on and on...every other class has several defining niches other than being useful in combat except for the Fighter. Throughout all editions, they have been defined as only skilled at combat leaving the player of the fighter to twiddle his thumbs when it comes time to disarm a trap, hob-knob with nobility, or banish a demon. The fighter is less Sir Arthur or Conan and more like dumb muscle that's only useful in problem-solving when he or she can bash the problem upside the head.

*The Fighter is commonly eclipsed by spellcasters in combat To add insult to injury, in most editions of D&D it is simpler and easier to have a spellcaster deal with a foe than to have a fighter wade in and slog it out in melee. In most editions, spellcasters can supplant the fighter with summoned minions, protect themselves with long-duration magics, and supplement their spellcasting resources with wands and other multi-use magic items that could deal damage comparable to that of the fighter (or else kill or neutralize an opponent with one hit). Save or dies, and save or sucks such as Dominate Monster or Charm Person have a wide-ranging impact on the battlefield that fighters in most editions can't keep up with without severe optimization. In many cases, wizards and other spellcasters have to "play nice" in order for fighters in high-level parties to not feel like the 3rd wheel.

If these forums (and my personal experiences) are anything to go by, it's also not a problem only suffered by groups with "problem players" or "power gamers". In many games of D&D, I've noticed my or another players spellcaster (optomized or not) eclipsing the group's fighter as early as 4th or 5th level both out of combat (admittedly easy) and in combat (which is supposed to be a fighter's specialty).

The 3.5 Book of the Nine Swords and 4th edition made significant inroads towards solving that problem (and it's arguable that 4th edition solved it entirely) but the "flavor" of those solutions is anathema to some individuals that prefer the simpler fighter of older editions. While I myself am not among those individuals (I see nothing video-gamey or "superheroic" about the feats a 4th edition fighter is capable of), I can understand that the changes are not to everyone's taste.

Why this is a problem: If fighters are going to be "100% Combat" then they at least need to be masters of it, the go-to guys for when the **** starts hitting the fan and the blood starts flying. It's often disappointing to have all of your character's eggs in one basket, but it's even more disappointing when you don't even have as many eggs as everyone else on the farm. Having a players handbook tell prospective players that the fighter is the class to choose if you want to be amazing at killing things with weapons, and then not delivering on it is horrible game design.

*The fighter doesn't have any commonly agreed upon abilities other than being "good at combat": As I've said before, every other class has many declared "niches" where their talents shine. The paladin takes the forefront in fights against evil, can heal and deal with undead, and is a steadfast warrior and potential party "face". It's class abilities (to a greater or lesser extent) throughout the editions have all tried to support those niches-immunity to fear, smite evil, the training in charisma based skills etc.

The fighter doesn't have any of that-beyond having high HP, and lots of weapon and armor proficencies there's really not a lot that a fighter from one edition shares mechanically with a fighter from another (besides often being underwhelming mechanically). In 1st edition they were defined by: best weapons, best armor, best HP, iterative attacks at no penalty, followers. Second edition gave them: Best weapons, best armor, best hp, specialization, iterative attacks and followers. Third edition took away their best-hp claim and neutered their specialization, while giving them...bonus feats that weren't nearly as powerful or interesting as class features or spells. 4th edition gave them the title of the best defender, a bevy of useful and interesting powers, while further diminishing their ability to specialize; but did make them a mechanically significant class.

Why this is a problem: People can't arrive at a consensus as to how they want the fighter. Some folks want a simple "I hit it with my sword" style fighter with big hp, the best armor class, and lots of attacks. Some want a dedicated defender with a wide variety of powers and maneuvers, some want a weapon-specialist with a few tricks, some want a combination of all of the above options. Most people want everyone to be able to get what they want and have it all be relatively balanced (so that one person can have the simple fighter, the next can have the 4th edition fighter, the third can have the 3.5 fighter upgraded to mechanical usefulness, and the last can have some strange hybrid of all of the editions).

*The Fighter's Resource Mechanic is out of pace with that of spellcasters Fighters in most editions only have 1 resource that matters: their hitpoints. Only late 3.5 and 4th edition changed that, and did so in a way that not everyone liked. If fighters are balanced against what spellcasters can do all day, then they will fall short when compared to their daily abilities and if they are balanced with regard to caster dailies then they end up overpowering casters.

Why this is a problem: Sucking all day isn't going to beat out rocking the hell out of 5 minutes. It's not fun for the player in question, and such a difference encourages the dreaded "5 minute workday", wherein everyone rests so that the spellcaster can get his mojo back. The obvious solution that 3.5 and 4th edition tried was to give fighters daily resources of their own, but this is one of those things that split the fandom (something wizards is trying to avoid).


What you've all been waiting for (my solution to the problem):

The basis chassis of the fighter will be this:

Highest HP in the game
Best access to armor (which should mean best armor class) in the game
Best weapon selection
Iterative attacks at no penalty, that can be done after moving
Open skills (this is something that should be given to every class-being able to choose skills that fit your character, rather than those that fit your class)

This gives the fighter a measure of out of combat utility while cementing them as the primary mover and shaker in combat. Toning down the wizard and other spellcaster's game-breaker spells is also important, but doing so will enable a simple 1st edition fighter type to compete with everyone on a fairly level playing field. Doing such a thing is not impossible (the 4th edition slayer is an example of a simple fighter-style class that can hold it's own in combat) Now here's where things get tricky...what about daily powers and stances? What about weapon specialization? What about utility or out of combat abilities? What about followers and a keep?

Feats my friend...feats. I imagine that 5th edition will have a similar basic "1st edition" chassis for each character class that distills it down to it's most basic abilities with everything else available as feats. So if the fighter wants a daily ability, they spend a feat to get it. Want a stance? They get spend a feat! Passive specialization? Feat! Followers? Feat! If the base class is balanced (and once again, the slayer has shown us that it is possible to do an at-will based class that is balanced with one that follows a more daily power scheme) and the feats are just gravy that is equally shelled out to every class then there will be no problem with balance.

So you might see 3 level 1 fighters all with:

High HP
Best Armor
Best Weapons
Iterative Attacks at no penalty useable while moving
Open Skills

But one of them has:

Defenders Aura (-2 to opponents engaged with the fighter if they choose to attack anyone else, plus an opportunity attack or similar action if they move away).

and another has:

Followers (You get 1 steadfast follower that scales in level with you, as well as a number of non-combat servants and such that see to your needs and handle your affairs for you)

and still another has:

Weapon specialization (you get extra damage and attack bonus when using a given weapon, and get a cool passive effect when you hit with it-pushing enemies back with a mace, or striking like a surgeon with a crossbow against even heavily armored opponents).

So one would be more like a 2nd edition fighter, one would be more like an essentials or 3.5 fighter, and the third would resemble a 4th edition fighter but they would all be on approximately the same page balance wise.

Sound good?



Multiattacks tend to be one of the hardest things to balance. I would be a bit worried about this iterative attacks without penalties thing - it could be made to work, but overall I'd be extra careful in the new edition on how many extra attacks you can fit into a combat round.

Stuff that is (or was) broken in 4e on the dps scale is mostly related to multi-attacks.
I still feel that twin strike was a design mistake in 4e....

If you do multiattacks so that you roll all thee attacks vs. a single enemy on one turn and add only W's together from each hit, and then add static modifiers only once, I could see this working.

For instance, my preferred fix to twin strike is to have it make two 1W damage attacks, but if you hit the same foe twice, the attack deals 2W+mods instead of 2x1W + 2xmods.

The problem with multiattacks is that with any kind of buffing they exceed the scale of what is reasonable damage per round when compared to characters without multi-attack routines.

I agree multiattacks are a bad idea. One attack with scaling damage is far better (plus, it's even more "realistic"!). Also, I believe there is something a fighter should be able to do to contribute to the party out-of-combat: tactics. The fighter should be able to take the intelligence wizards and rogues gather, formulate a plan and set the party on the road to success. The problem with that is that: A) it steps on the Warlord's toes and B) it is commonly based on roleplaying rather than in-game stats.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
"Sound good? " Not really, why ?

"Fighters in every edition of the game (including 4th edition) get the lowest number of skills/non-weapon proficiencies/skill training slots"

Honestly this shows a lack of insight. They get fewer yes. They also get the best in the key areas that matter. Would you like to see a fighter with a d4 for HP's ? Maybe one with no armor sounds ok ? Hmmm what about there BAB, lets see them hit something with a mage's BAB. Ok, lets try to reduce the attacks per round instead ? Don't like that ? lets play around with what weapons there allowed to use ?

See fighters are very equal to other class's, There not given the choice of picking skills, it's done for them. If you want to address that as a problem then fine. I can handle that. It seems this misconception is widespread enough maybe we need to open up the fighter so you can turn it into a monk. As for feats, they have got the highest number of any class in 3.x ? Are they not skills in a way ? I know your totally aware of these facts as you have talked about them in your post. Why can you not associate the two ?            

"*The Fighter is commonly eclipsed by spell casters in combat", this is not true in my campaigns. spell casters run out of spells (Also potions run dry / Rods run out/ scrolls disappear ect.). They do shine better in one or two encounters, and against certain monsters they also shine. Nothing like DR to nerf a fighter or too high an AC. Then soon as they meet some drow, or a Rakshasa or even a willow the wisp, it makes up for the scary rust monster, or the mimic.

As for the solutions to this questionable problem. Open up skills. I actually agree with. Followers, As a DM I find it a pain to have a menagerie of NPC's follow the players, but It's something I put up with for the mage familiar or the druid animal companion. The clerics Undead follower ^^, Hell give the fighter a buddy if you think he needs it. I already do allow in my campaign a low level page trainee for the fighter, that he uses for a dogs body. Nothing to do with balance, just flavor.
   
  

  
"Sound good? " Not really, why ?

"Fighters in every edition of the game (including 4th edition) get the lowest number of skills/non-weapon proficiencies/skill training slots"

Honestly this shows a lack of insight. They get fewer yes. They also get the best in the key areas that matter. Would you like to see a fighter with a d4 for HP's ? Maybe one with no armor sounds ok ? Hmmm what about there BAB, lets see them hit something with a mage's BAB. Ok, lets try to reduce the attacks per round instead ? Don't like that ? lets play around with what weapons there allowed to use ?

See fighters are very equal to other class's, There not given the choice of picking skills, it's done for them. If you want to address that as a problem then fine. I can handle that. It seems this misconception is widespread enough maybe we need to open up the fighter so you can turn it into a monk. As for feats, they have got the highest number of any class in 3.x ? Are they not skills in a way ? I know your totally aware of these facts as you have talked about them in your post. Why can you not associate the two ?            

"*The Fighter is commonly eclipsed by spell casters in combat", this is not true in my campaigns. spell casters run out of spells (Also potions run dry / Rods run out/ scrolls disappear ect.). They do shine better in one or two encounters, and against certain monsters they also shine. Nothing like DR to nerf a fighter or too high an AC. Then soon as they meet some drow, or a Rakshasa or even a willow the wisp, it makes up for the scary rust monster, or the mimic.

As for the solutions to this questionable problem. Open up skills. I actually agree with. Followers, As a DM I find it a pain to have a menagerie of NPC's follow the players, but It's something I put up with for the mage familiar or the druid animal companion. The clerics Undead follower ^^, Hell give the fighter a buddy if you think he needs it. I already do allow in my campaign a low level page trainee for the fighter, that he uses for a dogs body. Nothing to do with balance, just flavor.
   
  

  

Making class balance work based on having encounters with very specific creatures (Spell resistance) is not workable at all. You are basically saying that hte DM needs to include creatures X and Y to make the game work. What if the adventure is leading the PC's vs. giants and ogres and after that adventure (a long one) is over, the group wants to start a new campaign.

"Solution is to have nobody play a fighter because you don't face any spell resistance in this adventure?"

Seriously, just make the game work with a reasonable range of opponent types. Don't make the fighter be the solution to a few types and assume that will make it ok for him to lack on many other fields.

>.< Rothe, How you arrived at that from what I posted I don't know. It is merely pointing out how I appreciate the mages can outshine a fighter.

I will admit I do use certain monsters at times to make a spotlight for various players. In the instance of hill giants or ogres, an Ogre mage come to mind there. Spell resistance 19 ?  Maybe you picked a bad example but there are instances where I give up trying and let a story decide the monsters, but Mostly I decide on the monsters then craft the story to make sense for them. It works very well.
I have a big post in another thread that highlight my experience with a balanced party (fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard)

 http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/28944899/Scaling_of_powersspells_and_results_of_it&post_num=28#516881707 

Now I find that the wizard can't nova because the party is fighting the enemy, so he is limited to single target spells. If their are 3 enemies the wizard won't just kill all three in one go. Actually the Rogue has a better chance. Everyone is effective, you don't need to put in anti-wizard enemies.


Also the fighter is not a class, classes have class abilites. The fighter is a class template. Its horde of feats is ment so a player can customize the fighter as they want. A lot of player can't do this. I give them the Book of Nine Swords, everyone is happy.

If you want skills, rogues is your class.

Arcane Magic, play wizard.

Divine magic, Cleric/Druid.

Beat things with a stick, Barbarian or fighter.

The cleric, paladin, sorcer, and fighter all get the same number of skill points per level. Why does only the fighter get pity? Hell the Sorcerer has even fewer skills they can put ranks in! But the fighter is getting screwed here somehow?


What is funny is that every concern brough up in this thread was solved by Pathfinder.

Every. Single. One.
Im sorry but ADEU is a French word for goodbye, not a combat system. You say, "Encounter Power" and I stop listening to you. [spoiler Have Played/Run] D&D 1st ed D&D 3.5 ed D&D 4th ed Shadowrun Star Wars SAGA Cyberpunk Interlock Unlimited Run.Net [/spoiler] I know my games, don't try to argue about them. [spoiler Alignment Explained] This is a very simple problem and I will outline it below. Their are two types of people Type 1: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "I am lawful good thus I must play lawful good" Type 2: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "My previous actions have made people and the gods view me as lawful good. The difference is subtle but it is the source of the misunderstanding. Alignment does not dictate how you play your character. All it does is tell you, the player, how the rest of the world views you, and your previous actions. Any future actions will be judged by their own merits. Say you're a baby eating pyromaniac. You are most likely chaotic evil. But one day you decide, "Hey all I really need is love." So you get a wife, have a kid, and get a kitten named Mr. Snook'ems. You become a member of the PTA and help build houses for the homeless. You are no longer chaotic evil. And just because you were once chaotic evil it does not mean that you have to stay chaotic evil. Alignment never dictates what you can do, it only says what you have done. Now that is cleared up here is a simple test. What is the alignment of... A Police officer: The average Citizen: A Vigilante: The answer is simple. The Police officer is lawful good. He uses the laws of the country and city to arrest people and make them pay their debt to society. The Citizen is Neutral good. He wants to live is a place that is Good and follows moral and ethical principle, but he sometimes finds the laws impedes him, and he wonders why we spend so much on poor people. The Vigilante is Chaotic Good. He wants to uphold the morals and ethics of society but finds that the bad guys often slip through the cracks in the law. He takes it upon himself to protect the people from these criminals. That is the basic breakdown of the good alignment axis. What needs to be remembered is that any one of these people can change alignments, easily. The Police officer could be bought off by a local gang, and suddenly he drops to lawful neutral. The average citizen might find that his neighbors dog is annoying, barking at night and keeping him up. So he poisons its food, now he is no longer good, he is stepping towards true neutral. Maybe the citizen really goes crazy also kills the neighbor, hello neutral evil. It is possible that the Vigilante realizes that the cops are actually doing a pretty good job and decides to become an officer himself, leaving his masked crime fighting days behind him. Now he is Lawful good. Your alignment is not carved in stone, it is malleable and will change to reflect your actions.[/spoiler]
@johnthedm7000: you're being a bit overdramatic here aren't you? Laughing I love the way you mention tome of battle as being a way to help powers fighters not suck as much compared to casters. A ToB combattant sucks compared to the 2-handed tripping multiple attack enlarged power attacking brute you can get using a core fighter. The problem with the early editions is that a fighter is dull more than anything else. "I attack", "I cast fireball", "I attack", "I cast wall of fire to seperate these 2 guys from the boss", "I attack", "I cast invisibility and run away from the guy hitting me", "I attack"... Guess who's the fighter in that story? That is the main problem that needs to be dealt with.

Also, fighters are excellent climbers and jumpers! Why would you want to be able to do anything else? Wink If the base asumption is that you're 100% combattant, then it would be indeed colorful to adjust that number through the use of feats (in other words, sacrifice some of that combat effectiveness to learn how to hide and be charming with the ladies).

About multiple attacks: Did they seriously include powers that allow multiple attacks in 4th edition? That's insane; a big chunk of the damage comes from the flat bonus to damage rolls and not the power itself. Maybe the game designers didn't notice that 2d6+30 is not the same as 2 times 1d6+30. That was really a dumb idea in 4th edition. Multiple attacks are not that big of a deal if you use some kind of damage resistance score by the way. If natural armor and superior materials such as adamantine means more damage reduction and not a higher AC, multiple attacks are really no big deal. 2d6+3 is the same as 2 times 1d6+3 if your opponent has a damage reduction of 3.

About your feat solution: I suspect that's exactly what you're going to get in D&D Next. A base fighter and feats to buy tactical options or more raw damage. I wouldn't mind if they got rid of the warlord and turned his abilities into fighter feats. I always thought the flavor of the warlord was a little wierd. A martial leader should be the big brute leading on the front line with a two-handed sword, not a princess in the back ordering her lackeys around (personal opinion, feel free to disagree).


Would you like to see a fighter with a d4 for HP's ? Maybe one with no armor sounds ok ? Hmmm what about there BAB, lets see them hit something with a mage's BAB. Ok, lets try to reduce the attacks per round instead ? Don't like that ? lets play around with what weapons there allowed to use ?

See fighters are very equal to other class's, There not given the choice of picking skills, it's done for them. If you want to address that as a problem then fine. I can handle that. It seems this misconception is widespread enough maybe we need to open up the fighter so you can turn it into a monk. As for feats, they have got the highest number of any class in 3.x ? Are they not skills in a way ? I know your totally aware of these facts as you have talked about them in your post. Why can you not associate the two ?            


  

  


Talk about missing the point.  You're focused on the narrative reasons behind fighter design, and the OP is talking about the balance issue.  I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fighter choices from 3E and earlier didn't make sense, just that they left the fighter feeling useless outside of combat or anytime after 7th level or so. 

Sure, the fighter is more likely to hit something in melee thanks to his BAB, but when the wizard is using a save effect that he can pump to where most enemies will fail, and is doing three times the damage, or hitting 5 times as many targets, the fighter starts to lose his shine. 

Sure, the wizard doesn't get to use plate armor, but mage armor, mirror image and blurr make him a bit of a pain to attack anyway.  And let's not forget the big beastie he summoned to take his beating for him.

As for feats, they were the only way for a fighter to stay interesting at higher levels (although they were more flash than substance, really), so he couldn't go spending them on all sorts of out-of-combat effects.  If you see the feats as his response to skills, then he has to choose between totally sucking at non-combat situations or seriously sucking at both combat and non-combat.  Sorry, that's not a choice I want to make when I sit down to play a fantasy role-playing game.
The OP brings up an interesting point, and one so simple (and intuitive) that I don't know why it never occurred to me before: make the Fighter the best combat guy, period.  All the other classes have built in utility outside of combat, so make the Fighter the one dude that everyone turns to when the monsters show up.  He's the guy who, whether through training or heroic instinct, knows just how to tackle any threat in the quickest, most efficient way. 

This should be the case no matter what.  A day with just one big fight, a day with tons of smaller fights, fighting against golems, undead, aberrations, orcs, giants, whatever.  The fighter is the one who can instantly, through skill or luck, figure out how to deal with the threat and get it done.

I know some wouldn't agree, but I would gladly trade out daily powers (and even the flexibility of encounter powers) for the monotony of basic attacks if it would also mean I was the best there is at what I do...and what I do is kill monsters.  The fighter wouldn't even need powers if instead he gained "Fighting Knowledge".  This would be like monster knowledge, but only relate to combat.  So when that giant scorpion grabs you and is about to sting you, you know just how to block the sting, bust out of the grab, and hack at the small vulnerable spot near the mouth.

Talk about missing the point.  You're focused on the narrative reasons behind fighter design, and the OP is talking about the balance issue.  I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fighter choices from 3E and earlier didn't make sense, just that they left the fighter feeling useless outside of combat or anytime after 7th level or so. 

Sure, the fighter is more likely to hit something in melee thanks to his BAB, but when the wizard is using a save effect that he can pump to where most enemies will fail, and is doing three times the damage, or hitting 5 times as many targets, the fighter starts to lose his shine. 

Sure, the wizard doesn't get to use plate armor, but mage armor, mirror image and blurr make him a bit of a pain to attack anyway.  And let's not forget the big beastie he summoned to take his beating for him.

As for feats, they were the only way for a fighter to stay interesting at higher levels (although they were more flash than substance, really), so he couldn't go spending them on all sorts of out-of-combat effects.  If you see the feats as his response to skills, then he has to choose between totally sucking at non-combat situations or seriously sucking at both combat and non-combat.  Sorry, that's not a choice I want to make when I sit down to play a fantasy role-playing game.




Sorry ? I'm a bit confused by that,  how do you mean "narrative reasons".  As far as I can tell 3 / 4 paragraphs are talking about balance in my post so I I'm a bit lost at your accusation that I have missed the point of the OP. You need to spell it out for me a bit better.
Actually in 4e you're unlikely to see +30 damage on your attacks, and definetely not until high levels. Many powers multiplied the base weapon damage dealt so a 1d8 longsword would hit for as many as 7d8 using some of the higher level powers. Furthermore several of the lower level multi-attack powers would negate parts of the bonus damage as well as using lower weapon multipliers, not to mention pre-cluding the ability to use some of the heavier weapons. Furthermore most striker damage could only be dealt once per turn so rangers for instance couldn't use a multi-hit power to bump their damage up like a 3e rogue with multi-weapon skills. That said multi-weapon powers are generally considered to be part of the higher end in dealing damage, but it's nowhere near as bad as it's been made to sound.
Getting +30 damage to your attacks is low-balling it as a striker in paragon, and the best powers are usually the ones that do the least weapon dice. Around midway through, 7 damage from your stat, 4 from enhancement, 4 from a damage-boosting item, 2 from a Focus feat, 9ish from your striker feature, and 4 from miscellaneous sources gets you to 30, +40 is typical, and +50 is possible.
"Sound good? " Not really, why ?

"Fighters in every edition of the game (including 4th edition) get the lowest number of skills/non-weapon proficiencies/skill training slots"

Honestly this shows a lack of insight. They get fewer yes. They also get the best in the key areas that matter. 
  


You then go onto list things that they get: THAT AREN'T SKILLS.

Yes, they get things for use in combat. Skills/etc. are for out of combat use. The point being made in that statement is they don't get much for OOC use.

So unless you know a way to use hitdice to persuade people, you're completely missing the point. 
Thx Kingreaper, Now I understand.

Class features aren't skills. I can see where that is going. I'm just going to pass thank you.
Actually in 4e you're unlikely to see +30 damage on your attacks, and definetely not until high levels.



I don't know... I got some really high numbers fooling around with the character builder. I forgot how you get them but I remember having a wizard with an intelligence bonus, a magical implement, an item bonus (staff of ruin?), and then some kind of dual wand wielding, and then the genasi elemental damage feat or something and I think weapon focus (staff)? I forgot exactly how to do it, but I remember having 10-15th level wizards with +20 to damage so I assumed that the bonus would just keep getting bigger as you reach the higher levels.

Of course if you're not playing with munchkins, nothing really breaks Laughing.  

+50 on a single attack including weapon dice, and stuff yeah Hell I've seen a particularly nasty sorc build that could pump out 60+ damage on a single turn at level 1.

However I'm talking about the flat plusses like strength/ability and enchant that can be applied to every attack every turn. The only multi-hit striker who can apply his striker damage multiple times in a round is the barbarian.

The flat plusses on your damage by say level 16 (lets assume a 20 in your relevant score) is gonna be something like  +13 (+7 ability, +4 enchant, +2 focus).
The flat pluses should be 30 by themselves. And Barbarians don't have a striker damage feature.

+30 at 15 isn't munchkinry, +30 is treading water. It's about the same, math-wise as averaging 8 damage on a hit at level 1. Better if you've figured out how to attack more than once per round, obviously.

Munchkinry would be about twice that.
Barbarian striker feature is their powers deal more damage and use bigger weapons then other strikers.

Where are you getitng +30 at level 15?

Ok the sorc and the slayer have a flat bonus striker feature but even assuming an 18 (can you get 20/18?) that's what another +8 for a total of +21?and neither of them are included in a multi-weapon user category. 
The flat pluses should be 30 by themselves. And Barbarians don't have a striker damage feature.

+30 at 15 isn't munchkinry, +30 is treading water. It's about the same, math-wise as averaging 8 damage on a hit at level 1. Better if you've figured out how to attack more than once per round, obviously.

Munchkinry would be about twice that.


Many barbarian at-wills add extra dice to the damage as part of the power (ie. howling strike).  Those that don't normally, do so when the character is raging.  Plus the rampage feature adds some extra damage on a less predictable basis.
*had a 4e level 15 Blackguard break 200 in a combo...good times*

Anyways, the solution to the LFQW problem can nOT be modular. This is one of those things I insist be core.
Iterative attacks at no penalty, that can be done after moving

This alone will kick "Melee Guy" up several notches.

I'd add "free Spring Attack" to it as well.  If there's four guys in a 30' hallway, and Mr. Swordguy gets four attacks, all four of those guys should be in trouble.
Thank you all for your commentary and additions. To specify exactly what I mean by the fighter having little out of combat ability, I mean that in every edition he has had amongst the smallest number of non-combat options of any class, with little mechanical impetus to get more. If you need an example of what I mean look at the other 3.5 edition classes with an identical number of skill points as the Fighter:

The Wizard gets 2+Int mod skill points per level and is an int-based class with every single knowledge skill available to it. Thus, most wizards will have a high intelligence and get a decent number of skill points per level. The fact that wizards have spells that it many cases completely elminate the need for skill checks (knock and charm person come to mind), also make the wizard's low skill point total less of a concern.

Sorcerers are less well off than wizards, but still have more class skills than the poor old fighter and spells that can be used to once again elminate the need for skill checks. Even a blasty sorcerer can easily load up on cheap scrolls or wands and open doors or charm folks all day thanks to the aforesaid magical items.

The figher on the other hand has 2+Int mod skill points, a ridiculously small skill list, and little to no mechanical motivation to put higher than a 12 or 13 in intelligence, meaning that they'll get next to nothing as far as skill points go. Furthermore, since they don't have any class abilities that don't involve combat, they can't make up for this deficit with anything other than the ability to stab things.

Folks, pathfinder didn't solve any problems-it is at it's heart (whether you love it, loathe it, or are ambivalent about it) a slightly modified version of 3.5 D&D. While fighters certainly got a boost in pathfinder, their out of combat utility did not get significantly boosted (yes I know that trained skills get a +3 bonus...but that just means that a fighter can be reasonably competent at everything on his tiny skill list). There are still the old problem spells that make even the most optimized fighters a waste of space.

Lets say you've got a scenario with a 1000 hp monster. The fighter can deal 300 damage a turn and kill the thing in 4 rounds. Or the wizard can charm it and unleash it on his foes in 1 round. Or can summon a balor that'll do a better job of fighting than the fighter. Or can point at the creature and kill it in one round, based off of one roll. Or a million other ways to take care of the creature (massed glyphs of warding placed on confetti....rope trick shennanigans...the good old scry and fry) that don't bear repeating.

For folks that still don't see what I'm talking about, let me put it this way. Based on the traffic going on in these forums alone, there is a significant population of folks who have noticed a power discrepancy in most editions between casters and non-casters (and specifically fighters and casters). Even if you're one of the lucky ones who has homebrewed a solution, talked with your group to convince spellcasters to play nice, or figured out some other way to deal with the problem so that (for you) the problem no longer exists you cannot say that this is not a problem for anyone. You cannot say that every group that experiences these problems is "doing things wrong" or has "problem players". The evidence simply does not support that, based on the shear volume of detailed reports that show exactly how it happens.

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That all being said, I may now address particular concerns and what not with my approach:

1. Regarding the modularity of the solution, what I mean by that is having multiple equivalent fighter options using differing subsystems. If 4th edition taught us anything it's that classes with differing subsystems (such as psionic's at-will only with power points model, and the essential fighter's encounter and at-will stance model) can be at least roughly equivalent to each other in power. Things get more difficult to balance when you allow different subsystems to be used, because comparing the two is often like comparing apples and oranges but it is possible to balance them. So you can have two fighters, using very different subsystems and have them be comparable to one another in power and usefulness to a party (while mantaining parity with other classes). I want to be very clear when I say that I in no way support having an option in the rules to make fighters or other non-magical classes suck. I just want it to be possible for fighters and similar classes to rock in different ways, using different subsystems. To repeat myself, suckage of any sort (optional or not) is completely unacceptable to me-modularity is not an excluse for lazy or unbalanced design.

2. If monte and friends are going for the entire "each class has a specialty out of fighting, social encounters, and exploration where it shines the most, and some spread their capabilities across the three spheres" thing, then I wholeheartedly agree that the fighter should be the master of stabbing things with pointy objects. No one should do it better...after all that's why players are picking a fighter rather than a cleric or a sorcerer-they want to be the man with the mighty thews that shoves 3 feet of cold steel through the gullet of a debauched sorcerer-king. All classes should have chances to branch out from their present competencies through feats and multiclassing, but I'd be fine if the fighter's main, but not only focus was combat.

3. Regarding multiple attacks and the problems inherent in their use, I see where you guys are going with that. I too know the pain of Twin Strike being the hands-down best Ranger at-will. But that problem is inherent in how multi-attacks are handled, not with multi-attacks themselves. If you allow static damage bonuses to only apply to one attack, you solve the multi-attack problem definitively. You could also solve it by having multiple successful attacks against the same target only deal additional dice, rather than dice+modifiers allowing for fighters to choose between an extremely powerful attack against one creature or cutting down many more minor threats. Either way, you give the fighter something other classes want and can't do, while having it remain relatively balanced. Combine that with a level-dependent bonus to weapon damage and you're golden.

After having my rant - Id like to share a link to another solution for fixing skills.
community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...


May be of intrest, may not johnthedm7000 =)


This is why I do agree with your 1st solution.    
@johnthedm7000
By and large, I agree with each of your proposed solutions.

The 'linear fighter, quadratic wizard' problem is certainly something that should be addresed, although this is as much about balancing the wizard as the fighter. Some of the options presented in this thread address that issue: community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...
For the Fighters...

Regarding itterative attacks, I think they are fine, and even a good idea. Abilities, feats, and other bonuses have to consider them to keep it balanced, but the concept itself is fine. Regarding the 'realism' of getting more attacks as you get stronger, it's impotant to remember that combat is abstracted. Whenever a fighter is in melee combat, s/he is assumed to be constantly clashing blades with the opponent. The attack rolls merely represent how many of those attacks get through. As you get more skilled (i.e. higher level), more of your attacks are likely to get through the opponent's defences.

Regarding two-weapon fighting, my opinion is that the best way to balance it is to make shields more valuble. Shields have always been undervalued; in 'real' combat, a shield is much more useful than a mere +20% evasion rate. This can also tie in to another problem I've had with PCs in general, but especially Fighters: Attack Bonus and Armor Class do not scale evenly, at least not in 3.X. Classes should get AC bonuses in addition to attack bonuses, and the Fighter should have the best of all.

Regarding skills, yes. Yes, yes, yes, it makes no sense for a Fighter to have as few skill points as he does. A moderate increase to the number of class skills would also be appropriate (include Diplomacy, for example). I am also in favor of feats that grant extra class skills, should you want a Fighter who knows a lot of history for example. (Actually, Knowledge: History might even make sense as a core class skill too).

Regarding out-of-combat capabilities, the Fighter is conceptually difficult to accomodate this way, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be possible. More skill points/class skills can go a ways towards this, and leadership capabilities can go even further. Like most things, I don't think leadership should be resticted to Fighters, per se, but giving it to them for free, while others would have to invest feats, etc. into it seems like a good approach. Any other options to make Fighters more useful out of combat are encouraged, as long as they make sense.

Regarding combat options, I agree that Fighters deserve a broadened range of options than "I attack". Technically, they do, with actions like Trip, Overrun, and Bull Rush, but these often require feat investments to be practical, negating what benefit all those bonus feats would otherwise have. I would suggest giving Fighters such abilities as Improved Trip, Combat Expertise, and Weapon Finesse by default, and then have feats that make them even more practical. My vision of what makes a Fighter different from a Barbarian is that a Fighter is tactical to the Barbiarian's brute force, and the versatility of what "attack" could mean for them represents that. Improving the list of such options to include things such as 'parry and counterattack', and 'chop at his legs so he can't stand, let alone run' would also be nice. Using these suggestions, a Fighter could take on a dragon by waiting for it to try to bite, then thrusting a sword into its eye when it does; or immobilizing it, climbing onto its back, and plunging a sword into its neck. Have the mechanics support this, rather than it just being flavor tacked on to "I attack".

EDIT: Another option I've presented before is rebuilding the weapons system so that each weapon, or weapon type, has techniques and playstyles associated with it. For example, heavy weapons can stagger defenders, but are slow; spears have reach, but are poor at targeting moving targets; daggers can be thrown, used in grapple, and easily hidden, but are short range. These bonuses, and the related techniques, should be more significant than a weapon's base damage. Different classes would get a different amount of proficiancy points as they advance, which can be spent to gain a new weapon proficancy, or improve an existing one (like getting bonuses to hit, and improved techniques). Chosing many weapons grants a slew of technique options, while specializing makes you very good at a few (of course, these two approaches should be balanced). Naturally, the Fighter would get the most proficancy points, and so his combat options would expand accordingly.

Regarding Fighter classes, it has been mentioned a few times on this forum about possibly splitting Fighters up into more specialized classes. I don't think this is neccesary, nor more beneficial than the overarching model. Part of the reason for this is that what makes a Fighter a Fighter is their general mastery of combat. By specializing by default, that element is robbed of them. If you want to specialize, bonus feats, etc. should be able to do that for you, but the generalist should still be the base, and a viable option at high-levels if desired.