Yet another proposal to solve the fighter problem

As I see it the figher in D&D Next has two major issues: He is a bit on the simple side. And he can't stop the monsters from simply running past him to attack the soft targets (wizard) in the back.

My proposed solution would be to re-introduce attacks of opportunity, but not as a general rule, but rather as a fighter ability. The fighter (and other "defender" role classes of the future) would have a zone of control where they get to make an attack on monsters trying to run through.

This would both make the fighter a bit more interesting, as he regains his specific role as defender of the other group members, and it would solve the "tankless" combat problem of D&D Next at the same time.   
I guess I don't understand this, that (the AOO problem) is solved by the fighter readying an action to grab the enemy as they pass and throw them on the ground. I like the fact that fighters HAVE to think. They can't go by the sheet alone and be fun. That IS the fun in a fighter, they can do some seriously crazy stuff if the player thinks on his/her feet. Problem is, people seem unable/unwilling to do that.

I don't know, my 2 cents... 
That would assume the fighter having done nothing his turn, so he has the action available to ready a grab.

Imagine a group of kobolds standing together. Why would the fighter want to just stand in front of his group and ready a grab if the kobolds are in his movement range? He would just go there and try to hit one of the kobolds. But the rules as written would then allow all the other kobolds on their turn to completely ignore the fighter and move to attack the softer targets in the back of the group instead.

Basically what is missing is some crowd control, and a readied action doesn't provide that. 
Well you are assuming that fighters are MMO style tanks. Before fourth edition, fighters were never really built to protect their comrades. The reason that enemies generally didn't reach the wizard were purely mechanical. In 1st edition when fighters moved into melee it was hard for anything to leave. In 3rd we had attacks of opportunity that discouraged moving through the front liners. It wasn't until late 3.5 and 4th that fighter recieved any kind of "Defender" type attention. Until 4th, DnD never really had "Tanks".

Now I do agree with you that currently there is nothing preventing enemies from bypassing front liners and pressuring the backliners. But I don't think that the fighter NEEDS to be a tank in any sort of fashion. Besides, look at the guardian theme that the Cleric of Moradin sports. You could easily just switch that to the fighter, and give him a shield. That gives you all the tankness you want.
My two copper.
The wizard can reshape the very fabric of reality. Let him cover his own ass, I'm off to kill some kobolds.
Seriously, though; the Wizard needs to play smart. Use Ray of Frost. Back out of melee. Don't rush into combat. Use terrain. Move to put the fighter between you and monsters in tight spaces. Don't be lazy, keep yourself alive.
If you can't carry your own weight, then why are you here? Why would I risk my life adventuring with someone who needs to be babysat constantly? 
Eh..I don't think Tank is quite the right word. It implies he's going to be taking all the hits, which is not true. They're taking some of the blows to keep the rest of the party from taking too much.
Well you are assuming that fighters are MMO style tanks. Before fourth edition, fighters were never really built to protect their comrades. The reason that enemies generally didn't reach the wizard were purely mechanical. In 1st edition when fighters moved into melee it was hard for anything to leave. In 3rd we had attacks of opportunity that discouraged moving through the front liners. It wasn't until late 3.5 and 4th that fighter recieved any kind of "Defender" type attention. Until 4th, DnD never really had "Tanks".

Now I do agree with you that currently there is nothing preventing enemies from bypassing front liners and pressuring the backliners. But I don't think that the fighter NEEDS to be a tank in any sort of fashion. Besides, look at the guardian theme that the Cleric of Moradin sports. You could easily just switch that to the fighter, and give him a shield. That gives you all the tankness you want.


Your examples contradict your thesis. You say fighters were not intended to be tanks until 4E, and then you describe the pre-4E tanking mechanics. Oops?

Anyway, you're affirming the OP's point - what's the good of a melee fighting master if you can just walk away from him? Whether you label that as tanking or you do some mental gymnastics to call it something else, the fighter still needs mechanics to keep enemies in melee (where they hit him and not the wizard *cough*like a tank*cough*), or else he may as well be an archer, which ironically would do a great job of keeping enemies in melee.

Anyway again, I really do believe we'll see stronger options than this half-hearted Guardian ability before too much longer. What we're seeing from the playtest is very simple and is meant to seem appealing to AD&D/BECMI players.

So the useful feedback would be this: If you plan on playing in that simple style, your DM would benefit the game by testing how easy it is to kill the wizard. Rather than letting the fighter and/or cleric sit up front and keep the bad guys at bay, DMs who plan to keep things simple should "play cleverly" for the monsters. They should try to push the fighter back or knock him away to get to the guy in the dress who is about to cast Sleep. They should not let the fighter stand in a doorway or narrow hall while they suicidally throw themselves at him.

This kind of feedback would be really helpful, because the designers will have a sense of whether fighters (etc) need some kind of tanking mechanic. If the wizard ends up casting mostly defensive spells or if he dies a lot, then even the core game will need more elements that let fighters actually fight things. 

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.

@JRutterbush -- I've personally always enjoyed the teamwork displayed between fighters and wizards. For realism's sake, you aren't going to go tromping around in a danger zone with someone who isn't going to watch your back and you wouldn't expect anyone else to, either. You are right about on thing, however. I've seen people do absolutely stupid things when playing a wizard.

There's always enchanted items for AC boosting where wizards are concerned. I used to pop a ring of protection (and maybe a displacer cloak) on a wizard, with some boots of speed to make it so that they could get away from advancing monsters if need be.  Of course, that was only after adventuring for a while and if we found the appropriate treasure.... But low level PCs are supposed to be crunchy and good with ketchup. It's what they're for.... (Insert Evil DM Cackle here.)
 
To topic --
  
As for the attack of opportunity, let's be honest: There's only so many people you can reasonably attack in the span of time that a round comprises. It's not like your fighter can expect to just hold his sword out and let the monsters run into it. He has to move it around and move a bit himself, and that takes time. Opportunity doesn't do incredibly much for crowd control vs larger groups of monsters, because the number of times it could happen was limited.

I like it as a fighter ability, though, or even a general rule.... Depending on how it's applied...
   
While not referred to as such, the attack of opportunity also existed in AD&D 2nd Ed. but only when fleeing from the threat zone of a character. To quote the Player's Handbook under "Retreat" (subheading: Fleeing, p128) - "The enemy is allowed a free attack (or multiple attacks if the creature has several attacks per round) at the rear of the fleeing character. This attack is made the instant the character flees: It doesn't count against the number of attacks that opponent is allowed during the round, and initiative is irrelevant." It didn't apply to the withdrawal action, which involved carefully moving away at reduced speed.

I always found it disconcerting (from a practical standpoint) that there was no real limit on how many attacks were inspired per round. There was no modifier for the rushed nature of the attempt or even surprise. It's not like you ever expect the enemy to run screaming from you after battling for a while, and there should be a definite increase to your chance of missing if the creature behind you starts to move away. Especially if s/he is a thief/rogue/assassin type and therefore skilled in stealth.

Nontheless, there is some argument for a variant of it being a D&D tradition....
Attacks of Opportunity dom't exist yet.  That's the key.  Maybe they're working the wording so its no so reliant on mini and tiles.  Maybe they're looking at a way to have the same effect but keep it simple.  Maybe they're waiting to see what the playtesters think.

I'm sure that down the road we'll see something similar to Attacks of Opportunity.

To keep with the theme so far, my suggestion would be to use it as a means of giving an opponent Disadvantage.
The wizard can reshape the very fabric of reality. Let him cover his own ass, I'm off to kill some kobolds.
Seriously, though; the Wizard needs to play smart. Use Ray of Frost. Back out of melee. Don't rush into combat. Use terrain. Move to put the fighter between you and monsters in tight spaces. Don't be lazy, keep yourself alive.
If you can't carry your own weight, then why are you here? Why would I risk my life adventuring with someone who needs to be babysat constantly? 



Someone seems to have played 1e/2e. I remember fondly the days where the mages had to cover their own butts and strategy came before using your cool uber-attacks.
Give your fighter the Guardian Theme instead of the Slayer Theme. There is no reason to blanket the fighter with the defender ability.

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

Give your fighter the Guardian Theme instead of the Slayer Theme. There is no reason to blanket the fighter with the defender ability.


Clearly that's what the guardian theme is intended to be for.  And I agree that the theme system is a better place to put it than strapping it to the fighter class.  The problem is that, at least from what we've seen of it, the guardian theme doesn't seem to work completely.  The guardian can stop a creature from moving directly past him, which is a start, but he can't stop it from, or punish it for, leaving again on the next turn.
Personally, I don't see any reason to have these types of opportunity attacks happen more than once a round, but I also believe that they should be relegated to a theme, and not a class specifically.  It seems more in line with what they are currently trying to accomplish, fits the overall versatility they want, while still not giving a bonus any larger than the others I've seen... It would be similar to the Guardian one, but different in function.  Against large groups of enemies, the Guardian would be more beneficial, but against the big bad bad-ass monster, the AOO style fighter would be better.
For what it's worth, I do think that attacks of opportunity will be in an optional module which does help with the issue you describe.  As for the "tanking" issue... that appears to now be a theme, and personally I like that. The tanking cleric in the playtest actually played quite well, and the ability to give disadvantage to attacks against adjacent allies was pretty powerful.
The wizard can reshape the very fabric of reality. Let him cover his own ass, I'm off to kill some kobolds.
Seriously, though; the Wizard needs to play smart. Use Ray of Frost. Back out of melee. Don't rush into combat. Use terrain. Move to put the fighter between you and monsters in tight spaces. Don't be lazy, keep yourself alive.
If you can't carry your own weight, then why are you here? Why would I risk my life adventuring with someone who needs to be babysat constantly? 



Someone seems to have played 1e/2e. I remember fondly the days where the mages had to cover their own butts and strategy came before using your cool uber-attacks.



Exactly!


IRT Topic: There is no "fighter problem" that I can see looking over the playtest. The fighter I know and love has returned to basic attack you into oblivion, while the spellcaster is flying around thinking that he's superior (he isn't).
Clearly that's what the guardian theme is intended to be for.  And I agree that the theme system is a better place to put it than strapping it to the fighter class.  The problem is that, at least from what we've seen of it, the guardian theme doesn't seem to work completely.  The guardian can stop a creature from moving directly past him, which is a start, but he can't stop it from, or punish it for, leaving again on the next turn.



I agree - there's nothing in the playtest rules to keep someone from simply moving out of melee, but I'm more than confident that will be addressed. Aside from a 5' step, you've never been able to simply move out of melee. In Basic D&D, you could make a fighting withdrawal and move at half rate AWAY from the enemy, but you couldn't pinball off the fighter into the mage.

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

Clearly that's what the guardian theme is intended to be for.  And I agree that the theme system is a better place to put it than strapping it to the fighter class.  The problem is that, at least from what we've seen of it, the guardian theme doesn't seem to work completely.  The guardian can stop a creature from moving directly past him, which is a start, but he can't stop it from, or punish it for, leaving again on the next turn.



I agree - there's nothing in the playtest rules to keep someone from simply moving out of melee, but I'm more than confident that will be addressed. Aside from a 5' step, you've never been able to simply move out of melee. In Basic D&D, you could make a fighting withdrawal and move at half rate AWAY from the enemy, but you couldn't pinball off the fighter into the mage.



This is confusing. People seem to be calling this system a throwback to AD&D, yet a key rule is missing. In AD&D you could not simply walk into Mordor past a fighter (or any combatant) without any drawbacks. In the playtest you can. Thus my suggestion to people who will have simple PCs like the ones presented here: DMs should play to kill the wizard (as appropriate) and see what happens.

DMs should not give the party any undue advantages. Monsters should try to get around the heavily armored combatants and try to kill the weaker ones first. If this is too easy, you have some valuable feedback. If certain assumptions give you the classic "feel", you should spell out those assumptions. I don't think anyone is doing the game a service by assuming that a system comparable to the AD&D one will just appear later on.

I also don't think the rules on attacks of opportunity or disengaging were intended solely to give fighters "aggro" like in World of Warcraft. That's a drastic oversimplification. Quite simply, if you find yourself fighting a strong guy in plate with a greatsword, you'd probably rather fight the halfling sneaking up on your archers, run away and use ranged attacks, or back up into a group of allies. You wouldn't stand there and trade blows with some crazy dwarf frothing at the mouth and hacking at you with his blood-drenched axe. The present rules make it trivially easy for any combatant to simply step away from the fighter or the cleric of Moradin. Again, if I were intending to play with more or less the rules presented here, I'd want to test what happens if I *don't* assume much more than what's given.

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.

I think bringing back the fighter's aura from essentials, in a theme, may be a good way to prevent too much focus fire on the weaker characters.
Clearly that's what the guardian theme is intended to be for.  And I agree that the theme system is a better place to put it than strapping it to the fighter class.  The problem is that, at least from what we've seen of it, the guardian theme doesn't seem to work completely.  The guardian can stop a creature from moving directly past him, which is a start, but he can't stop it from, or punish it for, leaving again on the next turn.



I agree - there's nothing in the playtest rules to keep someone from simply moving out of melee, but I'm more than confident that will be addressed. Aside from a 5' step, you've never been able to simply move out of melee. In Basic D&D, you could make a fighting withdrawal and move at half rate AWAY from the enemy, but you couldn't pinball off the fighter into the mage.




Why is the guardian standing away from his squishies?  Seems that he'd want to be standing right beside them, with his ability to enforce disadvantage on an attack being his 'threat'.  You want the mage?  Go for it, but you're not going to hit him so long as he's standing beside me--however yeah he's standing right beside me so you can actually try.

There's tactics involved in that.
 
I have to agree with the crowds that like pre 4e fights. I didn't like that in 4e fights felt so much like casters with (essentially) having spells per day. It just made them feel like would you rather use a sword or spell you're doing the same thing either way. 

I like it when fighters trip, grapple, disarm, push people off ledges or into walls, and all the other stuff. If the fighter is boring to play you either have a bad DM or you simply aren't creative enough to fully utilize them. Especially with the new 5e fluff. A fight can now grab and axe off a body and duel weild, or pick up a shield and use his bastard one handed. Fighters now have even greater capibility to be exactly what they should be, a vicious opponenent that can destroy anything with weapons and tactics.

With the new ready actions you get even more freedom. Maybe you are don't attack the guy in front of you so you can ready a grapple at the person running at the mage. The reaper ability even adds some cool flavor to the class. You now don't have to worry about failed checks when fighting, you always get to feel like a damage dealing machine!

The only thing I'd like to see is maybe some stances. That was the one flavor bit I loved that they added to martial classes. 
I honestly think it's completely reasonable for a group of enemies to be able to engage a Fighter, and then split off some to go after the other members of the group.  It's a sound tactic to bog down the biggest threat and elimate its support, then move in on said threat in force.  A single fighter is going to have his concentration severly taxed by 2 or more opponents at one time.

A Master fighter 'theoreotically' could engage and threaten 2-3 opponents to enough of an extent that they were unable to ignore or move past him in order to do so.  A low level fighter shouldn't be able to do so.  It forces the group to think dynamically, so they can't just 'hack n slash' their way through an encounter.  Just my opinion on the matter.

 
As I have said other places I suspect that the lack of OA is due to the hope that grid base gaming can be modular and not part of the core.

  I suggest in this thread that OA and grid-based combat be part of the same module to allow for more strategy when it is need.