Fighters should own combat

I was replying to another thread when this dawned on me...

Shouldn't Fighters be hands down the best at combat?  That's what they are best at, shouldn't they be the best at it?

At some point in time, the Wizard player outsmarted the Fighter player into resting after every fight.  Before that, the Fighter player would mock the Wizard player or simply drag their character by their robes into the next room of the dungeon. 

The Cleric player was always compassionate to the Fighter player and Wizard player's needs.  They put up with the Fighter player yelling at them to heal them.  They were sympathetic to Wizard player as they too had vancian spells.  But that's the kind of person who wants to play a Cleric, or if they were cajoled into playing the Cleric then they wait for their turn to yell at the Cleric to heal them.

The Rogue player... if anyone needed the other members of the party it was the Rogue player, so they played nice with everyone or at least pretended to.  And quite frankly, the more the party slept the easier it was to steal their gold, amiright?

But the Fighter player allowed themselves to get marginalized.  Sure, the Wizard was going to eventually blow past them if the Fighter kept the Wizard alive long enough for that to happen. 

Maybe there wasn't enough Fighter player designers over the nearly 40 years, but as the life of Wizards got better Fighters got nada.  Leading to the worst insult evah', being labeled "Defender".  What, "Meat Shield" wasn't PC?  

I kid, but you get the idea.  If Clerics get armor, weapons, spells, healing, the girls...  If Rogues get to be, well, rogues!  If Wizards get to do everything, better than anyone else.  What do the Fighters get?  You would think they should be pretty good at fighting stuff. 

Social and Fighters are like fine china and dynamite.
Exploration and Fighters are like fine china and bendy straws.
Combat and Fighters...  yeah!  Combat and Fighters, baby!

I dunno, this seems obvious.  
Fighters should be best at fighting.  Fortunately, combat is more than just fighting.

Celebrate our differences.

Depends what you mean by "combat."  If magical combat is a subset of combat, then no, a fighter should not be the best at all things combat.

A fighter should be the best at wearing armor and using heavy weapons.  A rogue should be the best at using light weapons and sneaky tactics.  A wizard should have flimsy armor and be terrified of getting into melee range.

"Dealing damage," however, is not synonymous with "combat," and no class should have the corner on that market.  So if that's what you were trying to imply, I'm going to have to disagree.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
Shouldn't fighters be the best at adventuring.  After all, they're adventurers.  Shouldn't they be the best at it?

You, like my mock paragraph above, are absurdly oversimplifying things.  Combat includes many things, some of which the fighter should excel and some of which they should not.

I see no reason why fighters should also not excel at some aspects of social encounters.  Do they not have faces? Do they not have vocal chords?  Do they not also have language proficiencies?

I see no reason why fighters should not also excel at some aspects of exploration.  Can they not jump? Swim?  See?  Smell?  Hear?  Think?
Shouldn't Fighters be hands down the best at combat?  That's what they are best at, shouldn't they be the best at it?


This is circular reasoning.

Fighters should be best at standing toe to toe with monsters and holding their own, without the use of spells and such. Combat is more than that, as others have said. Being good at one aspect of combat doesn't preclude being worthwhile and interesting the rest of the time. If you want to make fighters that always dump Int, Wis, and Cha really hard, enjoy! If you want to devote your skill resources to physical tasks only, have fun! I don't think that needs to be forced on everyone.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?  For whatever reasons you might have, edition unspecific.

I am saying Fighters should be one of the best (I am actually saying they should be the best) at Combat, because I don't think they are the best at Exploration or Social. 

Higher HPs, Defenses, Saves, Attacks and Damage compared to say Skills.

Wouldn't jack-all Wizard make more sense taking a step back in all the pillars?  Or better yet, allow the Wizard to choose where they want to make their mark on them.

For the fighter to be the best at combat (which is something I do not agree should happen), does this mean the should be the best at defending, controlling the battlefield, skirmishing around to the easy targets, best at going toe to toe, best at healing their allies, and have the best damage output all at once. Combat clearly isn't a black and white issue. Also, if the fighter was the best at combat does this mean the entire 3e spell list must go away? I mean what is the point in being the best at combat if you can cast a save or die and win the fight much faster. So, what do you mean by best at combat, if you mean perform very well at taking hits and dishig out damage while still relying on teammates (such as the wizard for control or the cleric for combat buffs and healin)? Then I should probably direct you to the 4e PHB.
It seems to me there are two options to keep fighters "balanced" relative to other classes.  You can make them better at combat (taken in the broad sense of being able to contribute more to more fights than anybody else, even if there are aspects of fights that other characters are better at that are either less important or less common) but crappy in the other two pillars, or you can make them equally good at all three pillars relative to other classes.  Personally, I much prefer the latter, but you do need to pick one.

4e made fighters the best at defending, a narrow aspect of combat that left everyone else an equal space to contribute via healing/buffing/debuffing/DPR.  I liked everyone having equal space to contribute to combat.  However, fighters were left with very little to contribute to social encounters and exploration, since the only skills they had any hope of being good at were athletics and endurance, neither of which had much implication to social encounters and both of which got a bit boring/repetitive in exploration compared to the wide breadth of a rogue's skills or a wizards' knowledge and rituals or the universal applicability of a paladin's face. If fighters are going to continue to lag behind in the other pillars, they need more combat awesomeness to make up for it.  But I would sooner give them a leg up in the other pillars, so that they don't spend 2/3s of the game bored.

And as everyone else has already pointed out, the fluff only requires fighters to have more combat awesomeness if you take a narrow and simplistic view of combat, so I see no good reason to break balance in its favor. 
Out of the the four base classes fighters should be the toughest.  Best AC and HP starting out and do the best against things like saves vs poison.

They should also do at least decent melee damage by default and have some other tricks (marks, stances, tripping, pushing, grappling etc.) that they can pick from and get really good at. 

They should also have the option to pursue being really good at doing damage, but that should cost them something, either some of their other ticks or some of their toughness.
Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.
Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.

^ This.  I see no need for further discussion.

If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
Every class should have the option to own combat.
Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.

^ This.  I see no need for further discussion.


Also, there are too many classes.  Lets say, for sake of argument, that the fighter is the best at combat, the rogue is best at exploration, and the cleric is best at social.  This leaves the wizard, whose strength I guess could be that they are second best in all three.  But now you also have the monk, psion, barbarian, ranger, druid, etc.  Suddenly having a class be the best doesn't seem like such a good idea.

As others have said, it is far better to ensure that all classes can participate effectively within all three pillars.  If you want to make a character that only participates in one or two pillars, that is your choice and nothing can stop you.  But no one should be forced to not be able to participate.  Playing a fighter shouldn't mean that I go to sleep during exploration and interaction.

Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.

^ This.  I see no need for further discussion.




QFT.
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I am not saying D&D Next should be wildly unbalanced or the Bard should have no Combat and Exploration abilities, being the best at the Social pillar.  What I am saying is the Fighter has been in previous editions relegated to Combat, including 4e who further boxed them into being "Defenders".

If your gonna be a bear, be a grizzly - is all I am sayin. 

Yeah, peace love and harmony would be wonderful in Next where every class was in balance and rainbow flavored butterscotch... but let's just say for argument's sake that it's not as balanced as all the editions that came before it, hypothetically, then I think an argument could be made for amping up the Fighter since all he does is fight.

(I am not doing a good job at getting everyone fired up!)
Every class should have the option to own combat.

I agree.

Do you think that's true?

Do you think Fighters have had the option to own Exploration or Social elements of the game?

What I am saying is the Fighter has been in previous editions relegated to Combat, including 4e who further boxed them into being "Defenders".


First of all, every class had a combat role in 4e, so 4e did not box them in.

Second of all, I don't know what you mean by "relegated to combat".  As I said, fighters had skills, and could make Ability checks.  They have voices, brains, eyes, ears, and hands.  They can act out of combat.

Third, I have no idea why you're so keen on forcing people who want to play warriors from playing in the other two-thirds of the game too.

Fourth, this statement completely contradicts your statement that you don't want bards to be solely relegated to socialization.  Why Not?  If it's okay to force a fighter to sit out of two of the pillars, why not the bard?
(I am not doing a good job at getting everyone fired up!)


[Forum Guide]This statement kind of makes it seem like you were merely trolling for a flame war.  I'm going to assume that's not what you meant to imply here.[/Forum Guide]
No, not a flame war.  There would be nothing to gain from that.

I guess I am surprised everyone replied that it should be balanced... that's not what I mean.  I was surprised everyone's response was the game should be perfect.  That sounds more loaded.

If you feel the Fighter has been well represented in each pillar and has been balanced against other classes in every edition of D&D, that's cool.  Imo, they have'n't.

Sure, you could make Fighters perfect.  That would be great.

Or if they aren't perfect, maybe entertain my idea of making them better at combat - no, not better at casting Magic Missiles because that's not what I wrote. 

You know how some people think Wizards are the best Class in combat - for example higher level play in 3.5.  I'm saying I wouldn't mind the Fighters lack of mechanics / subsystems / skills in Exploration and Social parts of the game if people could say Fighters are the best Class in Next combat.

Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.

^ This.  I see no need for further discussion.




QFT.



I actually disagree.  Focus is inevitable, and a difference in preferred focus between classes.  Therefore, it is useful to analyze what class might be the most advantaged when tackling one pillar or the other.

Based on what I've seen in discussion on these boards, this seems to be appropiate:

FIGHTER
Combat: Master.  A fighter is distinct in that his profession is, by definition, combat.  Therefore, the fighter should shine exceptionally in combat
Exploration: Average.  Fighters don't tend to get special exploration tools (heavy armor is kind of a drag, too), but they'd also be the most likely to have above-average physical scores, allowing them to utilize physical skills... not to mention the toughness to survive getting whalloped by a trap.
Social: Average.  A fighter's profession does not usually incline him to subtle diplomacy, but neither does it prevent it.  When dealing with morale and the line, Fighters can take the lead.

ROGUE
Combat: Average.  A rogue is not a durable combat character, but can still contribute
Exploration: Good.  Rogues can open locks, disarm traps, and sneak like champs.
Social: Good.  Rogues are clever sorts, able to confound people and get what they want through lies and diplomacy.

CLERIC
Combat: Average (Good once healing is considered).  Clerics are decently durable but shouldn't really want to wade into the thick of things.  Healing is invaluable though.
Exploration: Poor.  Clerics tend to get the same heavy armor as fighters, without the combat-relevant physical stats to back it up.
Social: Average.  Being a Priest(ess) is goign to make some people like you or others hate you.

WIZARD
Combat: Poor.  Wizards can do nasty things to their enemies, but an axe to the face, or a stray arrow, or really a mean look can drop them.  since discussions have made it clear that nobody really wants to play defender, we're going to assume that only a wizard's knowledge of the ancient arts of Running Away and Cowering protects his robed behind from being skewered, tenderized, or pincoushined.  So combat is a bit of a "Yes you can, but no you shouldn't" unless you're on the far side of an arrow slit or have otherwise negated all possibility of retalliation.
Exploration: Poor (Good with a full spell list).  It's common wisdom that most of the spells that would drag this up as far as 'good', like Fly or anything that removes walls, ought to be purged from the Wizard's spell list.  This leaves a comparitivley weak and frail character relying on the same physical skills as everyone else.
Social: Poor (Average with Charm Person).  Again, common wisdom suggests Charm shouldn't exist.  Without it, Wizard's got nothing or worse -- would you trust a guy in a dress who flagrantly violates natural laws?  With it, a Wizard can deal with groups consisting of exactly as many individuals as can be charmed in one go (usually one) -- spellcasting isn't exactly subtle so while the Charm victim might think nothing of it, his friends are unlikely to stand for the obvious effects of mumbling and finger-waving.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

Based on what I've seen in discussion on these boards, this seems to be appropiate:

I mostly agree.  I would say Fighters have Poor Social support.  Rogues could have Master Exploration.  Healing is imporant enough to give Clerics Good Combat.  And the pre4e Wizards I have played were Average at all three due to a robust spell book.  Though I think the iconic Wizard would be Poor Social (w or w/o charm) and Good at the other two.
I was surprised everyone's response was the game should be perfect.


I think people would like to strive for perfection even acknowledgig that the goal is unachievable.

If you feel the Fighter has been well represented in each pillar and has been balanced against other classes in every edition of D&D, that's cool.  Imo, they have'n't.


It's all a matter of degree.  Nothing is ever perfectly balanced and no edition has ever claimed to achieve that.  But I think a good metric is to ensure that any player has the opportunity to create a character of any class that can contribute meaningfully in any given pillar. 

If you want to play a social fighter, you should be able to do that.  (My handle, by the way, is a character from 2e I played who was a very Charismatic fighter.  I'd be sad if the game told me that fighters can't be social because they're all about the fighting.)

I'm saying I wouldn't mind the Fighters lack of mechanics / subsystems / skills in Exploration and Social parts of the game if people could say Fighters are the best Class in Next combat.


I would.  I'd mind it a whole lot.  It would make a lot of very viable character concepts inaccessible in the game.

Iconic characters should be plausible, not mandated. 

In 1e, social support just meant a high Charisma and a willingness to roleplay.  Fighters had as much social support as clerics, theives, and wizards (unless the wizard got a hold of a lot of enchantment spells).  In 2e, everyone had access to social NWPs on the General list.  It was with 3e, that fighters lost access to useful social skills and were encouraged to dump Charisma.  This trend continued with 4e.
[
Do you think Fighters have had the option to own Exploration or Social elements of the game?




No, they haven't. But they should be able to excel at these things too instead of sit out.


FIGHTER
Combat: Master.  A fighter is distinct in that his profession is, by definition, combat.  Therefore, the fighter should shine exceptionally in combat
Exploration: Average.  Fighters don't tend to get special exploration tools (heavy armor is kind of a drag, too), but they'd also be the most likely to have above-average physical scores, allowing them to utilize physical skills... not to mention the toughness to survive getting whalloped by a trap.
Social: Average.  A fighter's profession does not usually incline him to subtle diplomacy, but neither does it prevent it.  When dealing with morale and the line, Fighters can take the lead.

ROGUE
Combat: Average.  A rogue is not a durable combat character, but can still contribute
Exploration: Good.  Rogues can open locks, disarm traps, and sneak like champs.
Social: Good.  Rogues are clever sorts, able to confound people and get what they want through lies and diplomacy.

CLERIC
Combat: Average (Good once healing is considered).  Clerics are decently durable but shouldn't really want to wade into the thick of things.  Healing is invaluable though.
Exploration: Poor.  Clerics tend to get the same heavy armor as fighters, without the combat-relevant physical stats to back it up.
Social: Average.  Being a Priest(ess) is goign to make some people like you or others hate you.

WIZARD
Combat: Poor.  Wizards can do nasty things to their enemies, but an axe to the face, or a stray arrow, or really a mean look can drop them.  since discussions have made it clear that nobody really wants to play defender, we're going to assume that only a wizard's knowledge of the ancient arts of Running Away and Cowering protects his robed behind from being skewered, tenderized, or pincoushined.  So combat is a bit of a "Yes you can, but no you shouldn't" unless you're on the far side of an arrow slit or have otherwise negated all possibility of retalliation.
Exploration: Poor (Good with a full spell list).  It's common wisdom that most of the spells that would drag this up as far as 'good', like Fly or anything that removes walls, ought to be purged from the Wizard's spell list.  This leaves a comparitivley weak and frail character relying on the same physical skills as everyone else.
Social: Poor (Average with Charm Person).  Again, common wisdom suggests Charm shouldn't exist.  Without it, Wizard's got nothing or worse -- would you trust a guy in a dress who flagrantly violates natural laws?  With it, a Wizard can deal with groups consisting of exactly as many individuals as can be charmed in one go (usually one) -- spellcasting isn't exactly subtle so while the Charm victim might think nothing of it, his friends are unlikely to stand for the obvious effects of mumbling and finger-waving.



With all the folks claiming that roles pigeonholed classes, this seem far worse. You're not telling people what they are going to do in certain pillars, you're flat out pigeonholing them into sucking at certain portions of gameplay altogether. On top of that, you're never going to have everyone agreeing just how much a class is supposed to suck or excel in any given pillar. The better options are to aim for everyong to be equal in all pillars or have players choose how good they want to be in each pillar based on their choices, regardless of class.
What about the idea that by chosing a class you're also choosing to be good or less good at some pillars. What is it about the idea that not being able to be as good as another class in a situation is the same as "sitting it out". (yes; hyperbole).

I agree with the OP that the fighter should be best in fighting. That doesn't mean that a given fighter character is automaticaly better in combat than any other on-fighter character but the average fighter is compaired to the average other average classmembers.

Being useless to the point of sitting out a part of the game should be the result of a (very specialized) character build or player demeanor. I think that less bonus bloat, a flatter progression in rolls and a more emphasis on in-game doing stuff than rolling skills might eleviate the "playing-second-fiddle-is-like-not-playing-at-all" argument for "balance"(warning, there's that hyperbole again).

So, fighters should be the class you choose (maybe based on the stats you rolled) if you want to be the character that can reliably dish out damage in combat, survive most situations involving bodily harm and kick ass in general. Out of combat this should mean that the character would volunteer the more bodily risky tasks and socially if Lohan the barbarian remebers the king loves strawberries and brings some to the audience as a gift that should mean more than a +10 in diplomacy because of stats and skill points.

What about the idea that by chosing a class you're also choosing to be good or less good at some pillars. What is it about the idea that not being able to be as good as another class in a situation is the same as "sitting it out". (yes; hyperbole).

I agree with the OP that the fighter should be best in fighting. That doesn't mean that a given fighter character is automaticaly better in combat than any other on-fighter character but the average fighter is compaired to the average other average classmembers.

Being useless to the point of sitting out a part of the game should be the result of a (very specialized) character build or player demeanor. I think that less bonus bloat, a flatter progression in rolls and a more emphasis on in-game doing stuff than rolling skills might eleviate the "playing-second-fiddle-is-like-not-playing-at-all" argument for "balance"(warning, there's that hyperbole again).

So, fighters should be the class you choose (maybe based on the stats you rolled) if you want to be the character that can reliably dish out damage in combat, survive most situations involving bodily harm and kick ass in general. Out of combat this should mean that the character would volunteer the more bodily risky tasks and socially if Lohan the barbarian remebers the king loves strawberries and brings some to the audience as a gift that should mean more than a +10 in diplomacy because of stats and skill points.




Thank you.

The point is specialization.  You can't realistically have every class with class features that are equal across all three pillars and expect them to remain distinct.  Let's step beyond the core four for a moment and look at the Barbarian and the Bard.

Should, conceptually speaking, a Barbarian (who has the profession and concept of gettign mad and smashing things) be exactly as adept at social interaction as the Bard (Who has the profession and concept of telling stories, singing songs, and similarly interacting with people)?  What about combat?  Should the bard be exactly as adept at fighting and killing as the Barbarian.

I think not.  Specialization must be possible, and a given class should have inclinations in one direction or another, perhaps strongly so.

There is a very large difference between "not as adept at X as your fellows" and "Incapable of contributing to X".  A rogue should be less adept at combat than the Fighter, but a rogue can still deal damage to enemies and so forth.  The fighter might not be as adept as the rogue at interaction, but that hardly means he CANNOT be an inspring speaker or decent intimidator when the situation calls for it.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

Follow me to No Goblins Allowed

A M:tG/D&D message board with a good community and usable software

 


THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

@Jim11735: Here is what is going on, as I understand it.  You have presented the problem: in your opinion, the fighter has always been pushed into the combat pillar, and that it has gotten more exclusive over time. 

Your solution would be to make the fighter the best at combat in order to make up for not being able to contribute in the other two pillars.

Most of the replies, however, say that the solution is to make the fighter able to contribute better in the other two pillars.  It isn't that things should be perfect, and it isn't that everyone should be able to do the same thing.  But all classes should be able to play an active and effective role in each pillar.  Note that I'm not saying every class MUST play an active role, because that is dependent on the player.  If I want to play my fighter as only being interested in combat, I can do that.  But I shouldn't feel that I can't help out during exploration or interaction simply because I made the mistake of picking Fighter.
I'm fine with fighters owning combat, as long as combat is about as common and takes about as long to play out as disarming a trap, casting a divination, or solving a puzzle.

You can't have one class dominate at a particular task if the system is set up so that particular task takes an hour to resolve at the table.
I'm fine with fighters owning combat, as long as combat is about as common and takes about as long to play out as disarming a trap, casting a divination, or solving a puzzle.

You can't have one class dominate at a particular task if the system is set up so that particular task takes an hour to resolve at the table.




That's true.  To prevent this from happening, each class has to have a situation within combat where it can shine as well.  Spellcasters need to be able to contribute to the combat (either through damaging opponents or by crowd control, buffing or healing); rogues need to be able to be sly to gain combat advantage and strike at the "Achilles Heal," etc.  Of course, damage output per attack (averaged over an entire encounter) should be in the fighter's favor, and and the fighter should be able to take more punishment so that he or she an keep up the fight.  To me, it seems like D&D has always kept this in mind to some extent (even with the older versions because if a spell caster used his or her killer spell, he or she couldn't use it again in the next encounter).

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I don't want class to determine what pillar I'm effective at. I want it to determine how I achieve effectiveness.

In the case of combat. I don't see the need for brute strength to be inherently more effective than fast reflexes or eldritch power or divine might or clever trickery or any of the other power sources you can think of.

Nor do I see the need for the Bard to be the best at every social situation. Sure they're entertaining and fun but there's more to social interactions than charm, dancing and music. Historically, it's military leaders, religious leaders, and wealthy merchants who have been the most influential leaders of men.


The problem with the fighter is it's a broken archetype that tried to swallowed up everything related to physical damage while ignoring every other aspect of the game. At some point it became the "I just want to kill things class". Which I'm fine with but sometimes I just want to kill things with magic, or divine righteousness, or whatever. Why should other classes be inherently designed to play second fiddle to the fighter?


Perfect balance is a pipe dream but I'm very much against the idea of intentionally building imbalances into the system. The better solution IMO is to elavate the fighter's out of combat options. If individual players choose to ignore them it's on them.
I'm fine with fighters owning combat, as long as combat is about as common and takes about as long to play out as disarming a trap, casting a divination, or solving a puzzle.

You can't have one class dominate at a particular task if the system is set up so that particular task takes an hour to resolve at the table.



I think this one here is a key issue, maybe the underlying issue behind all the "separate combat from out-of-combat" arguments.

You mentioned a few times how your game works. 50 or so encounters of various types, with people excelling at various tasks. Quick resolution, nobody gets bored. In theory, I can get behind your arguments. If you have a game like what you have, it is easy to see how having people who are best at combat, or people who are best at socializing, is good and eventually balances out. As you said, a game where a social encounter takes 40 minutes to accomplish cannot afford to have fighters without social skills. A game where a combat encounter takes 40 minutes to accomplish cannot afford to have rogues sitting on their toes and playing with a GameBoy.

However, there is a value in slow encounters. Many people now are going the opposite route, kind of an allergic reaction to 4E's mistakes, trying to hasten things up as much as possible. The design goals of D&D Next align themselves with this too, it's been stated numerous times. I've always agreed with this kind of thing, too: one hour adventures? Cool! Faster combat? Check! But now, I'm starting to be scared a bit. After hearing how a session with 5 minutes encounters works out, I'm not sure that's what I want.

A combat taking 5 minutes? Well, how are we describing anything in there? A good description takes up at least half a minute. One description per turn and... it's over? Wow. Did the baddie even get to act in there? Possibly, but maybe he lost initiative and was dead too soon for that. What an awesome combat encounter, it will last in our collective memory.

There is a value in slow encounters. A fast encounter can be exciting, but you can't have a meaningful encounter last too little. It's wasted. It's like setting up a BBEG epic fight and seeing him taken down by a Baleful Polymorph on round 1. It's sad, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Nobody is really satisfied. Same goes for social encounters: "Hey Jim we need you to help us because we're the good guys." "Ok, sure." is not exactly a deep and meaningful interaction. A decent social encounter takes time, and it should take time: if it's too fast, it's boring.

Of course, one can play fast encounters all day long and have fun, nothing wrong in that, but it's not what I like. It's very difficult to build up a story around your protagonists while your protagonists are running through a huge amount of meaningless encounters which are likely not even that tied to the story. Like random encounters in a JRPG: they're there to showcase the combat system, but don't provide a challenge, are XP farms, and really add next to nothing to the story. Of course, it's pretty easy - maybe even easier - to run sandboxes with fast encounters, or dungeon crawls, or even one of those exploration campaigns where living in a fantasy world, with all its complexities, is the whole goal of the experience. It's difficult though to convey a plot-driven narrative through fast repetitive encounters. Slow, bogged-down combats like some 4E early Solo monsters are just as bad, but there is a nice middle ground that I would like to see.
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What about the idea that by chosing a class you're also choosing to be good or less good at some pillars. What is it about the idea that not being able to be as good as another class in a situation is the same as "sitting it out". (yes; hyperbole).


What about my last post didn't already answer the question.  What's wrong with a charismatic fighter as a viable class concept?  Why should I be forced to be antisocial because I also know how to use a sword.  Were the Three Musketeers social misfits?  No.  There should be a place for the charismatic fighter and what Tevish seems to propose is pigeonholing things so that iconic characters are not viable.

Thats awful game design.  Truly atrocious.

So, fighters should be the class you choose (maybe based on the stats you rolled) if you want to be the character that can reliably dish out damage in combat, survive most situations involving bodily harm and kick ass in general.


And what class is there for the Three Musketeers, then?
@Jim11735: Here is what is going on, as I understand it.  You have presented the problem: in your opinion, the fighter has always been pushed into the combat pillar, and that it has gotten more exclusive over time. 

Your solution would be to make the fighter the best at combat in order to make up for not being able to contribute in the other two pillars.

Most of the replies, however, say that the solution is to make the fighter able to contribute better in the other two pillars.  It isn't that things should be perfect, and it isn't that everyone should be able to do the same thing.  But all classes should be able to play an active and effective role in each pillar.  Note that I'm not saying every class MUST play an active role, because that is dependent on the player.  If I want to play my fighter as only being interested in combat, I can do that.  But I shouldn't feel that I can't help out during exploration or interaction simply because I made the mistake of picking Fighter.

WotC, I would like Fighters to be better at the Exploration and Social pillars of Next, better than they have been in recent editions.  I would also like Fighters to be better at the Combat pillar of Next, better than they have been in recent editions.

Imo, the Fighter should be better at the Combat pillar than the Exploration or Social pillar, but of course not at the exclusion of Fighter builds designed toward Exploration or Socializing.

In fact, I am of the opinion that the Fighter should be the premiere Class when it comes to the Combat pillar.  Not to make up for not being good (or good-er) at the Exploration or Social pillar, but rather because - to me at least - it seems like Fighters should be really good at you know, fighting!

To do this, I would make the fighter tougher (HPs, AC, NADs or Saves), great w weapons (Att Bonus, Damage Bonus)... all weapons not just the one they focused/specialized in, and give them some combat props (Combat Challenge, AoO or OA, increased CA, etc.). 

I see the Barbarian as more damage less defenses but still being ridiculous in combat.  The Paladin as more defenses and less damage.  The Ranger as more skills and less defenses or you know what would be a cooler alternative - more skills and less damage but all the defenses.

Fighters, imo, can encompass all the archtypes more easily if they are simple better at fighting the enemies - within the core mechanics of D&D as we know it.  And if kicking-butt in Combat is built into the class, I think it would free up the Fighter to pursue other interests like Exploration and Social pillar mechanics.




What about my last post didn't already answer the question.  What's wrong with a charismatic fighter as a viable class concept?  Why should I be forced to be antisocial because I also know how to use a sword.  Were the Three Musketeers social misfits?  No.  There should be a place for the charismatic fighter and what Tevish seems to propose is pigeonholing things so that iconic characters are not viable.

Thats awful game design.  Truly atrocious.


When did I do this?  I did not, though perhaps I didn't explain myself well.  here is my basic premise

"When there are different classes, any one must necessarily be advantaged in one or more arenas and disadvantaged in others, when compared to the other classes present"

The fighter I presented (Master combat, average exploration and social) has no particular class features beyond what any given character might possess that incline him or her towards being charismatic.  I wholeheartedly support the idea of building a charismatic fighter, but that's not what the raw class features of fighter are going to want to do. (This is sort of like how I can build a red-green control deck in Magic.  It's unexpected and isn't utilizing the traditional strengths of the archetype, but I can totally do it anyway)

The relative metrics I presented were meant to represent advantage/disadvantage/neutral from class features alone, not the maximal extent of customization.  There is a large difference between incentivizing and pigeonholeing.

As for the three musketeers, it depends on if you believe in Few Broad Classes or Many Narrow Classes.

Under FBC, fighter should be a fit, with a focus in techniques that favor dexterity, points spent towards social skills, and so on.  Rogue might also work if you can trade in sneak attack/backstab for a more straightforward flourish

Under MNC, Fighter's not a fit because fighters are advantaged by heavy armor, and if you want to give that up there should be another class for you.  3.5's Swashbuckler is just about perfect, but at launch you might have to Multiclass fighter/rogue.

Advantage and Pigeonholeing: A Thought Experiment

Situation A:  In this situation, we set out to build members of two classes -- the Fighter (a combat Master), and the Bard (A social Master).

It is noted that Strength is the key statistic for the fighter, while Charisma is the key statistic for the Bard.  The innate abilities of a class will be stronger if the character has a higher key ability.  It is also noted that most of the class abilities of the fighter involve hitting things with weapons or related activities -- they get to wear heavy armor, wield any type of weapon, get very good hit points, and have specials that do damage and disadvantage foes.  The bard's class abilities on the other hand focus on interacting with creatures, and not so much on combat: their weapon access is limited, their armor proficency isn't great, their hit points are at best average.  Their specials make friends and influience people.

We can, of course, go with the flow.  The fighter selects the "Gladiator" background (which grants combat skills) and the "Soldier" theme (Which has a bent towards simple melee).  The result is a combat machine with no more real skill in the social arena than his charisma score would indicate.  The bard on the other hand selects the "Courtier" background (granting social skills), and "Travelling Minstrel" theme (Which focuses on getting use out of bardic music).  The bard is extremely sociable, but cannot fight particularly well.

However, we didn't have to go with the flow.  Our fighter could decide to be the social type and take "Courtier"1 as his background and "Knight" (Which features a few out of combat abilities to do with chivalry and all that good stuff) as his theme.  Along with a decent charisma score, he's now very good in combat (though not as good as the Gladiator/Soldier might have been) and more than competant when dealing with social situation.  He's still probably more comfortable on the battlefield, but he's a valid choice for party talker.  

The bard, on the other hand, might take the "Brigand" background (Getting access to some combat skills, especially dirty fighting) and "Daring Rake" theme (Focused on using misdirection and advantage).  With a good Str/Dex the bard is now a competant combatant, while still being useful in social situations (Though not so much as the Courtier/Minstrel).  He's still marginally more comfortable talking than swinging his sword, but the second option is far from distasteful.

Both are valid choices -- going with the flow and building on the natural strengths of a class results in a specialist, while going against it results in (more of) a generalist.

This is what I want to see.


Situation B: Again , we see a fighter (Combat master) and Bard (Social Master)

In this case, Being a fighter is going to require a certain level of strength, while being a bard is going to to require a certain level of Charisma.  If not explicitly, than to be good at anything for the class, you will need that primary ability score as high as possible.

As the characters progress, the bard just plain gets social abilities, while the fighter ranks up combat powers like a champ.  Any attempt to deviate from this results in, at best, wasted stats as a high charisma fighter is stipp pathetic compared to even a mediocre bard and a high strength bard has already lost if he's using that for anything other than carrying capacity.

This is what you seem to think I advocate.  I do not.


A simpler way to put it is this: Having ONLY made the choice of class for a character, and no other choices, there will be certain baseline levels oc competancy across the pillars, ranging from highly advantaged (master, in my prior chart) to somewhat disadvantaged (poor, on my prior chart).  A natural progression would be to build on the strengths of the class, in order to milk that advantage for all it's worth.  If you build on an area your class is weak(er) at instead, some progression inherant to your class will keep your advantages up, while your former disadvantages catch up.  In fact, let's have a visual, shall we?


I hope that explains my stand on the matter.


1 I have generally envisioned backgrounds as general and themes as class specific.

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I'll say it again:
Four mooks staggered down a hallway should be threatened just as much (if not more) by a Fighter as they would be by a Wizard.  Why should the wizzardo be the only one capable of hitting them all in the same round?

"Yeah... cone of [whatever] down the hallway"
"Run up that guy and stab, then run up to that guy and stab, then..."
How do you determine being best at combat. Single target damage is great unless you are fighting a hoard of minions. Should the fighter be able to launch fireballs now in order to be the "best" at combat. I would say it would be better to state that the fighters class abilities should focus more on combat than on the other two pillars. This means a fighter who wants to grab a bunch of defensive oriented features can do so while another can strive for damage. The rogue on the other hand would have less combat features and more access to the others. With customization it should be possible for a rogue who focuses solely on damage to do more than a fighter who branches out into the other pillars more, but a fighter focused on combat will be generally more effective than a rogue focused only on combat.
"When there are different classes, any one must necessarily be advantaged in one or more arenas and disadvantaged in others, when compared to the other classes present"

Be that as it may, I think there are other ways in which you could define "arena" than the three pillars of gameplay. Two different classes can be equally adept at contributing to Combat, Exploration, or Social, and yet have advantages and disadvantages that make them differently adept in any given pillar. While the Barbarian might be adept at combat due to the ability to cave in someone's skull with a blunt object with alacrity, the Bard might be adept at combat due to the ability to confuse and disrupt enemies with illusions. While the Bard might be adept at Social due to having a glib tongue and the ability to talk circles around others, the Barbarian might be adept at Social due to having a straightforward, sincere manner that doesn't mince words or make false promises. Depending on the encounter, the Bard or the Barbarian might be able to contribute more effectively than the other, but you haven't said to the Bard "Expect that every time we roll initiative, you're going to have to take a back seat," and you haven't said to the Barbarian "Probably every time we start talking to NPC's, you're going to have to let the Bard run the show."
One issue here is that "good at social" or whatever doesn't have to mean big bonuses. If "social encounters" are nothing more than a collection of skill checks, sure, we're stuck with that, and it doesn't make sense in that paradigm to give the same pile of bonuses to everyone.

But why limit ourselves to that? Why can't the fighter have some contacts - other veterans he served with, friends on the city watch, merchants whose caravans he guarded - who can give him information, protection, discounts, or other services? If we refuse to look past dice, then yes, we're stuck. If we have more open-ended social abilities and systems, we're not.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

Of the four classes (Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) which would you say is the best at each of the pillars (Combat, Exploration, Social)?


I don't think any class should be the best at any pillar.  That path just paves the way for people to sit out for a third or two-thirds of the playing time.  I really can't understand why anybody would think that's a good idea.

exactly.

Beyond that not all games are the same. One game may feature lots of hardcore fighting and another may feature more exploration or social interaction, or spying and sneaking around, etc. Unless one wishes to assume that D&D only works 'right' with a certain mix of these activities then the idea of specific hard-coded levels of performance in any given thing probably aren't a great idea.

I mean it is not a terrible thing if fighters can definitely be REALLY handy in a knock-down-drag-out fight, maybe a bit more so than some other classes, but there should probably be fights where other PCs will shine and there should certainly be the possibility to play a fighter that can shine in other types of scenarios. By the time you consider all these factors maybe it is just best if it is left up to the players to decide what they focus on regardless of class? Let class be a determinant of the basic way a fighter or other character will best relate to specific activities, but not dictate which specific pillars they can excell at.

That is not dead which may eternal lie
How do you determine being best at combat?


The following would work for me:

-The Fighter should have a greater chance to land a damaging blow than any other class. 

-He should do more damage than anyone else--only the Thief should approach his capacity to dish out damage, and even that should be only on a backstab. 

-He should have many more options available to him on his average combat turn than the other classes, and he should have a greater chance to execute them successfully. 

-He should have the highest Armour Class and other defenses; it should be more difficult to injure the Fighter by any means than any other class.  Only the heavily-armoured Cleric should be able to compare with him in terms of ability to soak up damage.  In no way should a lightly-armoured or unarmoured character be able to compete with the Fighter's ability to avoid injury, even with magical assistance.

-He should be able to resist at least some forms of magical attack.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

@Mormegil - In my game, the average combat encounter was 5 minutes - many were a bit shorter, and a few were two or three times that long. Killing a couple orcs in a hallway - yeah, that's not memorable, and that's how a fair number of encounters go. Once in a while, you're fighting Lolth, or the heads of the Slaver's Guild. That's pretty memorable. Same with traps. Often, it's just a pit trap that you find in a few seconds and walk around. Sometimes, it's a room with intricately painted walls, which provide clues to where you're supposed to step to avoid getting teleported somewhere you really don't wanna go. Also - most of what I was describing in those '50 encounters' weren't encounters. There were about 20 combats, and 30 other 'incidents' which may or may not have been encounters - just brief obstacles to overcome, or decisions to make, or opportunities to use a spell or class ability.
@Garthanos: I remember fast and exciting, with choices as to how you would approach (surprise is absolutely lethal), how you'd try to manipulate morale to make the enemy run, and when and how you'd retreat if things started going wrong.

Since you make only a few decisions, each has far more individual impact on the outcome. I'd rather make 5 decisions that matter a lot in 5 minutes, than 20 that individually don't matter much in 60 minutes. In the first example, I make a decision a minute, and each decision accounts for 20% of whether I win or lose. In the second example, I make a decision every 3 minutes, and each decision accounts for 5% of whether I win or lose.

That's a simplification - but I feel that it's a good description of how combat felt different for us when we switched from 4E to OSRIC.

What about the idea that by chosing a class you're also choosing to be good or less good at some pillars. What is it about the idea that not being able to be as good as another class in a situation is the same as "sitting it out".

I'm sure there's some threshold of "not being able to be as good" after which you're sitting it out.  If one character has an 11 Diplomacy and another a 12, both can clearly participate in a negotiation.  If one has an 18 and another a 2, and there are penalties for failure, Mr. Two's best contribution is sitting in a corner and keeping quiet, or perhaps guarding the door, of a different room, in the next town.

Being useless to the point of sitting out a part of the game should be the result of a (very specialized) character build or player demeanor.

No one should be forced to participate in every moment of every game every time, of course.  But, yes, a very specialized character could result in a player sitting out parts of a game, or even a whole campaign, if that specialty never comes up.  Why present such an option?


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