Why give the fighter guardian? ...no really, please tell me.

I've seen some discussions about the whole two themes thing. I'm cautiously intrigued, but think a Fighting Style benefit might make more sense. Give the fighter something of his own...

Anyway, my main question is the title. Why give the fighter guardian? He doesn't have a shield. It's useless for him. Yes, he could pick up a shield, but we don't know the exact racial bonuses in play, so it'd be hard to quantify what the fighter's AC and attacks actually are. 

I can think of some solutions to make level 1 fighters more viable (one combat surge that day)... but, the guardian thing confuses me. Why guardian?
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Many of the complaints is how anything can get around the fighter. Part of this I think is the 4e defender fighter type. Many who started with 4e hear fighter, they think defender.

So when people say that the fighter isn't sticky, many of us try to explain that he has a damage dealing theme, not the defender theme, which the only one we know of is guardian. Therefore, we suggest you get rid of the slayer theme and give him the defender theme. In the case of doing 2 themes for the fighter, you just give him the defender theme on top of his slayer theme.
You give the fighter the guardian theme because otherwise, lacking any sort of OA or mark mechanic, the bad guys are going to avoid the big scary guy with an axe and run right past him to stab the squishy wizard blasting spells or the cleric keeping the fighter swinging. It takes intentional stupidity on a DM's part to make the monsters attack only the PCs most well-equipped to take the punishment. Sure, the dumb monsters might attack whatever's nearest, but any sort of strategy will tie up the fighter somewhere else and rain ranged attacks on, or sneak past the fighter to attack, the more vulnerable (and still damage dealing/heal throwing) PCs on the back line. See how long the fighter keeps swinging when he's the only one standing and all his friends are dying.
Thank you for the responses. I understand that the guardian theme on top of the slayer as Mearls suggested trying would help give it a 4e-defender-fighter vibe, "We're thinking about granting fighters two themes at 1st level, so if you want to test that I'd suggest grabbing the dwarf cleric's guardian theme and adding it to this fighter. We're looking to introduce combat maneuvers by using themes, so you can expect to see those in the near future." (www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...

However, it is unlikely to play out correctly since the playtest fighter doesn't have a shield to use. He cannot perform defender (nor hold the line). Let's say we give him a heavy shield like his brethren the dwarf cleric. Will his AC be 18? Do all dwarves get a +1AC w/ shields, or just certain types of dwarves, or is it with heavy shields only (and wouldn't apply w/ a light shield)? 

Should a DM ignore the "While you are using a shield" part of Defender? Or should the DM just fudge the math on the dwarf's attacks/defenses?

What I am saying is that it seems to me to not be a solution to a problem, but instead multiple problems. 
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Yes, it does not seem that Mearls thought that response completely through.  I would suggest subbing out the fighter's heavy weapon for a one-handed weapon and shield.
Thank you for the responses. I understand that the guardian theme on top of the slayer as Mearls suggested trying would help give it a 4e-defender-fighter vibe, "We're thinking about granting fighters two themes at 1st level, so if you want to test that I'd suggest grabbing the dwarf cleric's guardian theme and adding it to this fighter. We're looking to introduce combat maneuvers by using themes, so you can expect to see those in the near future." (www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...

However, it is unlikely to play out correctly since the playtest fighter doesn't have a shield to use. He cannot perform defender (nor hold the line). Let's say we give him a heavy shield like his brethren the dwarf cleric. Will his AC be 18? Do all dwarves get a +1AC w/ shields, or just certain types of dwarves, or is it with heavy shields only (and wouldn't apply w/ a light shield)? 

Should a DM ignore the "While you are using a shield" part of Defender? Or should the DM just fudge the math on the dwarf's attacks/defenses?

What I am saying is that it seems to me to not be a solution to a problem, but instead multiple problems. 



When you say that it is unlikely to play out correctly what exactly are you saying? Just because the playtest sheet doesn't have a shield doesn't mean that the DM can't give him one, or pick one up off of the first kobald that you find. I'm not sure why this would be of any concern to anyone.

In past editions anyone who could use a shield got a +1 AC bonus while equipped with one. Does it really matter at this point about sizes of shields and bonuses? If it's not in the rules and you want to introduce a light shield or a wall shield just wing it. In this case I would probably give a light shield the +1, and a wall shield a +2, leaving the heavy shield at +1. But the possibilities are endless so until the playtest rules are further along just wing it. It'll still work. 

I think that what Mike was getting at is that the fighter could have both themes, and choose to use a shield gaining the ability to give an attacker disadvantage. Or he could choose not to use a shield and not gain the ability. He could carry a shield on his back and drop the Greataxe and pull out the shield and a long sword and add the Guardian ability to his play.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
I think choke points are how you do it.  Especially in the caves of chaos.  Just have two people up front and two behind them.  This approach seems realistic to me instead of using some artificial means of drawing the bad guys attention.  

Now I'm not against some themes that support other ways but for three editions that was a very workable strategy. 
I think choke points are how you do it.  Especially in the caves of chaos.  Just have two people up front and two behind them.  This approach seems realistic to me instead of using some artificial means of drawing the bad guys attention.  

Now I'm not against some themes that support other ways but for three editions that was a very workable strategy. 



I'm of the opinion that the chokepoint style gets real boring real fast. I played many a older edition game like this, and it removes all tactics from the fight. I like mobility, I like positioning to matter, and I like enemies making a choice about whether to stay on the guy their fighting as opposed to switching targets. Much of the exciting in-combat roleplaying really can only happen when characters can move around and interact with the environment.
However, it is unlikely to play out correctly since the playtest fighter doesn't have a shield to use. He cannot perform defender (nor hold the line). Let's say we give him a heavy shield like his brethren the dwarf cleric. Will his AC be 18? Do all dwarves get a +1AC w/ shields, or just certain types of dwarves, or is it with heavy shields only (and wouldn't apply w/ a light shield)?



This is a multi-stage playtest. I would expect later iterations to have more detailed character creation rules. It's not really possible now, though one could guess.
In regards to the defender feat and guardian theme does using the reaction to defend mean you forgo your next action, so that you either defend an ally or make an attack but not both? 
In regards to the defender feat and guardian theme does using the reaction to defend mean you forgo your next action, so that you either defend an ally or make an attack but not both? 



Oh that's a good question. The rules seem to imply that you can only take a reaction in lieu of your normal attack and place in the initiative order. However it's not clear by the theme weather or not this is some kind of passive reaction that doesn't interrupt your normal attack action or whether it is meant to force you to take a reaction and attack when the trigger happens while also giving disadvantage to your friends attackers.

The spirit of the theme appears to be to grant some always on passive feat which doesn't interrupt your normal attack, and that is probably how I would play it until better guidance is given.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
Many of the complaints is how anything can get around the fighter. Part of this I think is the 4e defender fighter type. Many who started with 4e hear fighter, they think defender.

So when people say that the fighter isn't sticky, many of us try to explain that he has a damage dealing theme, not the defender theme, which the only one we know of is guardian. Therefore, we suggest you get rid of the slayer theme and give him the defender theme. In the case of doing 2 themes for the fighter, you just give him the defender theme on top of his slayer theme.



That's kind of missing the point.  Yes, the fighter can be given the guardian/defender theme instead of the slayer theme to get it more sticky.

The problem is that the fighter, according to old-schoolers, is supposed to dominate combat; it should be the best at fighting.  Yet as it stands, the fighter doesn't have those tools.  Even its current combat dominance comes from its theme, not its class.  The bulk of what makes the wizard cool comes from the class.  Same for the cleric and the rogue (though the rogue sucks, he at least is pretty cool).  What makes the fighter "cool" is his theme, and not his class.

So, give the fighters the cool toys that let him dominate combat, instead of having him rely on a limited resource (his theme choice) to give him his cool toys.  I hope what Mearls said in the recent chat about the role of themes will actually come true.  Class is what you do, and theme is how you do it.  A Necromancer theme might give a pall of death and decay to all your actions.  Maybe a near HP drain mechanic.  A dual-wielding theme might give your attacks multi-hitting effects.  Point is, a wizard shouldn't have to take a specific theme to do what it should simply do, which is cast spells, and a fighter shouldn't have to take a theme to do what it should simply do, which is kill things nice and dead.

The ability to get a second theme is not the answer.  It doesn't make the fighter cooler as a fighter.  It turns the fighter into "generic character", a simple framework that players can "build" into some amalgamation of mishmash.

Moreover, to your point about how the fighter shouldn't be a defender by default: that's fine, I guess.  I would argue that the only reason the 4e fighter was designed as a defender was of because of the historical "role" of the "fighting man" as the meatshield, or the one who defends the squishy "magic user" and "thief" by either getting all up in the monster's face, or interposing himself between the monster and his tasty snack.

Given that protecting his ostensibly weaker allies and/or killing monsters is the fighter's "job", its a problem when the fighter has difficulty protecting the allies (because the monsters just run past the fighter) or killing the monsters (because the monsters can simply run away and avoid the fighter, often while running toward the allies).

Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
  Point is, a wizard shouldn't have to take a specific theme to do what it should simply do, which is cast spells, and a fighter shouldn't have to take a theme to do what it should simply do, which is kill things nice and dead.

...

Given that protecting his ostensibly weaker allies and/or killing monsters is the fighter's "job", its a problem when the fighter has difficulty protecting the allies (because the monsters just run past the fighter) or killing the monsters (because the monsters can simply run away and avoid the fighter, often while running toward the allies).




I would completely agree with you first point that the fighter class should have at it's heart several fighting skills/feats/whatevers that define it as a basic run of the mill standard generic fighter type.

I disagree with your second point about the monster running around the fighter. I really don't see that happening unless one there is a reason why a monster would do so, sacrificing life and limb to get at something behind the fighter, and two the fighter decides to let it happen. Simple telling the DM that he (the fighter) is attempting to stop the monster from running by him is enough that the DM would call for a roll to decide the issue.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
Let's not overeact to the problem of defending squishys,
For a possible solution read this thread:
community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...
Point is, a wizard shouldn't have to take a specific theme to do what it should simply do, which is cast spells, and a fighter shouldn't have to take a theme to do what it should simply do, which is kill things nice and dead.

...

Given that protecting his ostensibly weaker allies and/or killing monsters is the fighter's "job", its a problem when the fighter has difficulty protecting the allies (because the monsters just run past the fighter) or killing the monsters (because the monsters can simply run away and avoid the fighter, often while running toward the allies).



I would completely agree with you first point that the fighter class should have at it's heart several fighting skills/feats/whatevers that define it as a basic run of the mill standard generic fighter type.



Yup.  I don't mind themes (I like them as a concept very much, actually).  I just want the themes to be in addition to the class (be it wizard or fighter or whatever), and not a de facto replacement or requirement for one class (in this case the fighter).

I disagree with your second point about the monster running around the fighter. I really don't see that happening unless one there is a reason why a monster would do so, sacrificing life and limb to get at something behind the fighter, and two the fighter decides to let it happen. Simple telling the DM that he (the fighter) is attempting to stop the monster from running by him is enough that the DM would call for a roll to decide the issue.



The bolded part is the point, actually.  The monster sacrifices no life and no limb, because the fighter can't decide whether it happens or not.  Such power is actually in the hands of the DM.  You admit as much in your next sentence.  There is no guarantee that the DM would agree or rule as such, since there is no rule pointing out the fighter's ability to do so.  The only thing the fighter has going for it right now in the "I stop monsters from assaulting my friends" department is a potential gentleman's agreement between player and DM that the fighter should be able to stop monsters without having any actual ability to do so.

It would be akin to having the wizard be able to conjure magical effects without actually having codified (as in "printed in the rulebook") spells or spell slots.  The wizard would be "making magic" under the same gentleman's agreement as the fighter is operating under currently.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  No one wants to take away the codified spells of the core wizard, so there should be codified abilities for the core fighter.  It is my presumption, based on fiction and established tropes, that at the bare minimum the fighter should be tough, kill things really easily, be able to defend his buddies in some fashion, and have at least a couple of "signature moves".  As he levels up, he needs to be able to shrug off damage like it is nothing (at least for a moment), and gain another signature move or two, and at highest levels needs to be able to shrug off or power through magical effects, at least to a limited degree.
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
Fighter:"Alright guys, into the hallway, they'll never beta us in this formation!"
Party:'Yeah!"
Goblins:*stand there*
Party:"...."
Goblins:"...."

*2 rounds later*

Goblins:"...."
Party:"...."
Cleric:"So..are they going...come in here and attack us sometime?"
Fighter:"Of course, they;re goblins, they're come in here and and out in pieces like a meat grinder! It's not as if they have-"
Goblins:*Take out bows*
Fighter:"Oh fu-"
Party:*shot repeatedly*
Cleric:"WE'RE DYING HERE!"
Fighter:"The...hallway....failed? ;_;"
The ability to get a second theme is not the answer.  It doesn't make the fighter cooler as a fighter.  It turns the fighter into "generic character", a simple framework that players can "build" into some amalgamation of mishmash.

Fully agreed. To me multiple themes / backgrounds would only be appropriate to some jack of all trades "build your own character" dump class, scratching together a quick NPC expert, or a way to represent a setting aspect (i.e. every Dark Sun character would get an added Wild Talent theme for free). But it should not represent the core specialty of a class build: Rogue Schemes are the correct model, not the extra feat schedule approach of 3e. If they need inspiration all the various 4e fighter builds would be a good start, and if a character wants to share fighter specialty combat move they should multi-class.
The DM always has the power to do whatever they feel like doing, irregardless of the rules. The only power that the players have is deciding whether or not to continue playing with the DM. So if the DM wants to have a game with players that show up week after week he'll have to make it fun, entertaining, and worth while for them to do so.

No rule is going to overrule the DM's discretion, it's not a game of cards or dice where you have two opposing players competing and fairness and balance and things like that matter. It's an adventure where the DM is telling a story and the players are active participants in that story.

As a DM I wouldn't allow the rules to dictate where the story is going. If I didn't want a dice roll to kill a character I'd fudge a 'secret' dice roll or allow something to occur which would save him, or if I wanted a monster to slip past the fighter to attack the wizard I'd figure out a way to make it happen notwithstanding the rules. I'd apply some huge modifier or something another to make it happen.

The rule mechanics are not meant to create the story or adventure, but to provide some framework to help you move the story along. So for example in the case of the wizard I would be willing to allow her to use one of her spells imaginatively by casting a slightly customized or variant version of it in order to add some fun to a given situation. And in doing so it might become her 'signature' spell with untold roleplaying opportunities springing from it.

I wouldn't though force every situation to conform to my expectations where the story is going. In fact far too many sessions have gone in totally different ways as a result of the players deciding they wanted to do this or that, or some player rolled really good or really bad changing an expected outcome. The point is you are using the rules to assist the DM and Players to craft an adventure and as such the rules are only to be followed when they are convenient.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
The DM always has the power to do whatever they feel like doing, irregardless of the rules. The only power that the players have is deciding whether or not to continue playing with the DM. So if the DM wants to have a game with players that show up week after week he'll have to make it fun, entertaining, and worth while for them to do so.

No rule is going to overrule the DM's discretion, it's not a game of cards or dice where you have two opposing players competing and fairness and balance and things like that matter. It's an adventure where the DM is telling a story and the players are active participants in that story.

As a DM I wouldn't allow the rules to dictate where the story is going. If I didn't want a dice roll to kill a character I'd fudge a 'secret' dice roll or allow something to occur which would save him, or if I wanted a monster to slip past the fighter to attack the wizard I'd figure out a way to make it happen notwithstanding the rules. I'd apply some huge modifier or something another to make it happen.

The rule mechanics are not meant to create the story or adventure, but to provide some framework to help you move the story along. So for example in the case of the wizard I would be willing to allow her to use one of her spells imaginatively by casting a slightly customized or variant version of it in order to add some fun to a given situation. And in doing so it might become her 'signature' spell with untold roleplaying opportunities springing from it.

I wouldn't though force every situation to conform to my expectations where the story is going. In fact far too many sessions have gone in totally different ways as a result of the players deciding they wanted to do this or that, or some player rolled really good or really bad changing an expected outcome. The point is you are using the rules to assist the DM and Players to craft an adventure and as such the rules are only to be followed when they are convenient.



But none of that justifies not having the rules in the first place.  There are DMs who can and will ignore rules as they see fit.  There are also DMs who want coherent and thorough rules because they want to focus on other things, and not the minutia of how things work.

Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
The DM always has the power to do whatever they feel like doing, irregardless of the rules. The only power that the players have is deciding whether or not to continue playing with the DM. So if the DM wants to have a game with players that show up week after week he'll have to make it fun, entertaining, and worth while for them to do so.

While that is the DM's responsibility to his table, in this playtest it is the game developers who are being judged, not the DM.  What the game developers are offering to the DMs as inspirational material and guidelines for his table before they are put up for final sale is the overall purpose of D&D Next.  Not how good or bad you are at DMing.

No rule is going to overrule the DM's discretion, it's not a game of cards or dice where you have two opposing players competing and fairness and balance and things like that matter. It's an adventure where the DM is telling a story and the players are active participants in that story.

As a DM I wouldn't allow the rules to dictate where the story is going. If I didn't want a dice roll to kill a character I'd fudge a 'secret' dice roll or allow something to occur which would save him, or if I wanted a monster to slip past the fighter to attack the wizard I'd figure out a way to make it happen notwithstanding the rules. I'd apply some huge modifier or something another to make it happen.

It's true that no rule is going to overrule the DM's discretion (regardless of edition) but that is not the whole point of the playtest in the first place.  We aren't here running D&D Next rules + DM houserules, we are here running D&D Next rules only.  Yes it's a historical fact that D&D has always had houserules, but again no edition -- not even the "balanced" 4E -- has prevented nor actively discouraged houseruling, fudging or the like, and the objective of any playtest is to serve as quality assurance of the product only.

Think of it this way: if you were to get a job as a TV Quality Assurance personnel, yes those super cool mods and add-ons that you placed in the TV gave you satellite uplink, virtual reality simulation, etc.  But those mods and add-ons will never ship with the final product, because only you made them and you know of them.

Then you see product sales falter because it turns out that the default setting was that it was a black-and-white grainy TV that only used plasma technology for the heck of it.

Normally the DM's job is to keep everything fun and exciting and whatever, but this is a playtest.  We are the playtesters.  It's our job to determine what works, what doesn't work, and how to make the whole thing work as is.  If "fudging it" is a baseline mechanic, there has to be parameters defined as to how to "fudge it".  If "DM-based balancing" is a baseline mechanic, there has to be parameters defined as to how DMs should "balance" it.


The rule mechanics are not meant to create the story or adventure, but to provide some framework to help you move the story along. So for example in the case of the wizard I would be willing to allow her to use one of her spells imaginatively by casting a slightly customized or variant version of it in order to add some fun to a given situation. And in doing so it might become her 'signature' spell with untold roleplaying opportunities springing from it.

I wouldn't though force every situation to conform to my expectations where the story is going. In fact far too many sessions have gone in totally different ways as a result of the players deciding they wanted to do this or that, or some player rolled really good or really bad changing an expected outcome. The point is you are using the rules to assist the DM and Players to craft an adventure and as such the rules are only to be followed when they are convenient.


But again the point of the playtest is so that the product -- D&D Next -- will give you the appropriate material you can work with, by giving you the equivalent of plywood, nails, a hammer and a "how to" instruction manual on how to assemble a table, instead of just the "how to" manual that isn't even complete or correct.

Yes the rules are there to provide a framework -- I love 4E because it is such a robust framework I can tweak and mangle it at virtually every point with little fear that I'll end up with a bad result, seeing how 1) I don't need to fudge stuff [at least not up to the last minute] and 2) the system as a whole allows for a LOT of abstraction and leeway for fluff to steer the story and mechanics to determine the baseline effects only, allowing for additional fluff-based effects should the DM be into those sorts of things -- so it is important for us to critically assess the framework as is, without modifications or tweaking, even if it means a TPK, boring combat, or what not.

Because we're playtesting the rules, not the DMs.

The topic underlines a basic problem with the Fighter class: the Fighter class' main feature is simply a damage bonus with weapons, whereas every other class has *something* to fall back on; even the Rogue gets additional skills to fall back on, and they got a short stick on the system as well.  In fact, there technically is no reason why a Rogue with a Finesse weapon, light armor, and a Slayer theme would not work (think nimble sly assassin), and there's no reason why the Rogue wouldn't have at least 12 STR [so at the very least he'll be doing 1 damage on a miss when using the Slayer theme].  The only thing he'll be missing out on would be the +2 damage from the Fighter class.

The topic also (unintentionally perhaps) underlines an even bigger problem with the entire character system: the game is supposed to work with everything outside of the basic templates as optional.  Feats, themes, backgrounds... all of them are optional, because the game is supposed to be as simple as: get your stats, pick your class, PLAY!  The problem: for the Fighter to work, it suddenly requires a theme in the alpha playtest and the supposed solution for the Fighter's boring nature is for him to have MOAR THEMES!

What if the DM says "themes and feats don't fit in my campaign"?

Cleric: No problem!
Wizard: Less spells, but alright!
Rogue: Sure, bring it! I'll be hiding in the shadows anyway!
Fighter: ... can't you make an exception?  Please?

My suggestion is simple: just like how the 4E Essentials subclasses and the 3.5E Tome of Battle classes work, just give the martial classes some battle maneuvers and additional abilities.  Is it too much to ask that the level 1 Fighter gains two battle maneuvers (allowing him to choose between +2 damage with weapon attacks and gain +1 speed [representing on a martial focus on either power or mobility])? Is it too much to ask that the level 1 Fighter gets a daily ability to either deal 1 extra weapon damage die in damage or the ability to gain enough temporary hit points to be able to go into a fight and rough it up no problem?

Or am I to expect that they will keep the improvisation-dependent fighter as Mr. Add-On?
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
In regards to the defender feat and guardian theme does using the reaction to defend mean you forgo your next action, so that you either defend an ally or make an attack but not both? 



According to the How To Play, you get one reaction when it isn't your turn. That reaction could be a readied action, but it doesn't mean using defender forces you to skip your next action (however, by the strictest interpretation of the rules, you could forego a readied action for defender OR use defender and drop the readied action).

Chaosfang has a good point on the DEX rogue being a better fighter, except for one thing. The rules say the damage is based on the ability score you used to make the attack. No need for that strength to be 12, just pile it into DEX so your assassiny rogue is dealing 3(assuming the pregen halfling has slayer) on a miss. Chaosfang, you are absolutely right about the classes without themes. I hadn't thought about it since I intend to use themes - I think they're an amazing idea (slayer wizard w/ shocking grasp). But, w/out themes are rogues, wizards, and clerics capable of fighting well? Is the fighter the... well... fighter? Has anyone run the game without themes and BGs to test the viability of a non-theme fighter versus a party w/ an extra battle cleric instead? (my money's on the cleric as written fighting better)

As for Lacodia's point wrt/ a fighter blocking the enemy... as others have said there's nothing in the rules as written to allow it (unless he readies an action to intercept instead of attack). However, I would allow a fighter to use unused movement to harass and bodypick enemies. My earlier issue w/ the shield math is that I can houserule how a dwarven guardian/slayer fighter uses that shield mechanically, but based on what they've given us so far I'm nearly certain the math will be wrong (the dwarven cleric has an extra +1 AC. Is this due to his deity/domain, or a racial ability like the Hammer/Greataxe bigger damage dice bonus for dwarves?). 

I guess I got my answer, though. Based on the mechanics so far, giving guardian to the pregen fighter isn't a feasible solution to the problems people have with fighters based on the rules and information given to us so far. I do expect that a guardian fighter will be a perfectly fine choice when the actual rules come out... but, right now, it doesn't help. 

Thanks for all the feedback and discussions so far. 
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Whatever was introduced would have to either becovered by discrete abilities of classes and themes or it would have to be simple and streamlined enough to function in the core next framework (ie, not adding extra actions to the combat round, not being so positioning dependent that it requires minis to adjudicate, etc).

In the OP Attack Ideas thread, I suggested a "disengaging" rule: "it is difficult to withdraw from melee combat once it's been joined.  If you move out of a creature's melee reach before your action on your turn, then you have disadvantage on any attacks you make with your action that turn."

It's basically the same punishment as making ranged attacks in melee reach, which harkens back to 3rd and 4th where both moving out of threatened spaces and making ranged attacks while thretened were both punished by opportunity attacks.  It doesn't interrupt the round with additional roles, or give characters or monsters extra actions outside of their turn, or require minis to adjudicate since it doesn't care about individual 'squares', just are you in melee reach, and do you leave it.  Monsters can attack the fighter without penalty first then move over to the wizard to attack without penalty next turn, but that gives the party time to respond.  Or Monsters can ignore the fighter to go after the wizard, but they do so at a penalty equivalent to being blind.

Specific monsters that are harder to pin down can have specific abilities to get around this.


IMO, the only problem then is that things become difficult for archers or ranged-attack-focused wizards, since if they start their turn engaged they're stuck with disadvantage either way.  Theoretically that's fine - if you don't have melee options then it makes sence for melee to be bad for you, but it might be too much of a penalty for such characters.  Especially since it doesn't put any penalty on spells that provoke saves rather then requiring attacks.

It's not necessarily a perfect solution, but in my mind it seems streamlined enough that it could work.


The other suggestion I liked from the OP thread was making threatened areas difficult terrain, which makes sense to me conceptually, and could work either instead of the above or in tandem with it.


I'd definitely like to see something worked into the core rules rather then relying purely on special abilities (be they from class, theme, or monster stat block) to do this.  Something to make passing the harder targets to home in on the squishier ones a bit harder than it is currently.


As for the issue of fighters not having enough unique stuff that they do, like some others I'd rather see that remedied by actually giving fighters some unique stuff that only they can do, rather than giving them access to more choices from the same generic pool of feats/themes that everyone else gets.  Giving fighters extra feats didn't cut it in 3e, and it won't cut it in next.
As of right now this is what a fighter gets as part of his class.

Level 1: +2 to all damage with weapons, use of all armor, all shields, and all weapons.
Level 2: Fighters surge extra actions 2/day
Level 3: Nothing

This is all we know. Judging off the only 2 things we know I can say part of being a fighter will be increasing the number of times per day the fighter can use surges, and weapon focus would increase as well.

What could also be added, accuracy with all weapons, hit dice increases with all weapons.

At level 1 he does attack +6, 2d6 + 7 damage. With no stat increases he does +10 2d12 + 15 or something. Increasing STR by 4 over 20 levels he is +14 2d10 +17 with 20 surges/day. Heck maybe at some point he gets improved fighter's surge where he can use 3 actions per turn, then later 4. We just don't know yet.

He has class features, all of them surround attacking harder (bonus damage), and more often (surges) by level 2. We don't know what comes after level 3, yet, but we can guess he will get more damage and more actions on a turn.
I'd like to see a handfull of generic combat maneuvers (bull rush, trip, disarm, etc, in addition to help) that anybody can do with their action, but that fighters, as a class feature, can do as part of the same action as an attack if they hit, then give them a few generic fighter ones they can add to that list (ye olde more damage, maybe some sort of intimidate thing, etc).  Maybe limited uses per day by level to cut back on poaching, and to give the fighter an element of resource management.  Maybe do this instead of surges (or roll surges in - one of the unique fighter options at higher level might be 'make another attack' or the like).
We don't know what comes after level 3, yet, but we can guess he will get more damage and more actions on a turn.


Wizards get more and more spells, clerics get more and more spells, rogues get more funky skill-based abilities, and fighters... well... they get to do the same things twice per day!  Don't you see, they get to improvise more times per round per day!  They get to dish out more damage per day!  They get to do nothing more than kill more stuff while in melee! It's so cool!

/sarcasm

Fighters are supposed to be the guys who dominate the battlefield, while the wizard provides all the magic-y offense support, the cleric provides the magic-y defensive support (healing), and the rogue goes all skulk-y skill support since they can't go for a full frontal fight.

Since when was battlefield domination = being better at being generic than anyone else?

Yes he deals damage, more damage than anyone else.  Yes he can take damage, more damage than anyone else.  Yes he can improvise, and has more opportunities to improvise than the rest of his mundane-- oh wait, you mean only one of his companions is mundane, and *he* gets to do a lot of stuff, *and* he can take 10 on the skills he's good at?  And his non-mundane companions not only have access to the same improvisational tools as the he has, but also has magic to help them?

Oh wait, the "complex" fighter's supposed to be coming up eventually, right?  That should help... I guess...

- - - - -
Hmm, re-looking at the character sheets, it seems like all characters gain a feat at level 3, with the level 1 feat disguised as a theme (either that, or themes package feats together, something like 4E's "build").  In that case, wow I'm certainly rebuilding that halfling rogue into a Slayer rogue, getting Reaper, then either Ambusher first then Skulker or vice versa.

While I certainly wouldn't mind the 2/day action point as a warrior at level 1 -- especially since that means that, as a warrior, I can Hustle 20 squares/100 feet in one turn if I had to, although would more likely be utilizing it to move 10 squares/50 feet and take two actions [attack/improvise] -- but I would certainly prefer four battle maneuvers at level 1 instead of two extra damage at level 1, even if they are comprised of

* codified improvised actions (e.g. whenever you hit with a melee attack, the target of the attack must make a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone)
* momentarily gain a surge of strength (resulting in either extra damage dice with weapon attacks or bonuses to Strength/Constitution checks and Strength/Constitution saving throws)
* defensive counter-attack measures (e.g. whenever you are hit with a melee or ranged attack, as a reaction you can make a Strength, Dexterity or Wisdom saving throw to dodge or parry the attack)

Or any mix of the three.  I as both player and DM want improvisation to be a bonus and an improvement, not an alternative to boring attacking straight up.

[ Yes, 4E at-will spamming is boring, but that only happens once the encounter (and sometimes daily) powers run out, which used to be at round 2, but now usually is at round 3, when you're level 1. So the fight usually lasts until the third or fourth round before at-will spamming becomes the norm. And usually at-wills add stuff in addition to the equivalent of a basic attack, so they usually aren't as monotonous as just attacking and doing damage. ]
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
The DM always has the power to do whatever they feel like doing, irregardless of the rules. The only power that the players have is deciding whether or not to continue playing with the DM. So if the DM wants to have a game with players that show up week after week he'll have to make it fun, entertaining, and worth while for them to do so.

No rule is going to overrule the DM's discretion, it's not a game of cards or dice where you have two opposing players competing and fairness and balance and things like that matter. It's an adventure where the DM is telling a story and the players are active participants in that story.

As a DM I wouldn't allow the rules to dictate where the story is going. If I didn't want a dice roll to kill a character I'd fudge a 'secret' dice roll or allow something to occur which would save him, or if I wanted a monster to slip past the fighter to attack the wizard I'd figure out a way to make it happen notwithstanding the rules. I'd apply some huge modifier or something another to make it happen.

The rule mechanics are not meant to create the story or adventure, but to provide some framework to help you move the story along. So for example in the case of the wizard I would be willing to allow her to use one of her spells imaginatively by casting a slightly customized or variant version of it in order to add some fun to a given situation. And in doing so it might become her 'signature' spell with untold roleplaying opportunities springing from it.

I wouldn't though force every situation to conform to my expectations where the story is going. In fact far too many sessions have gone in totally different ways as a result of the players deciding they wanted to do this or that, or some player rolled really good or really bad changing an expected outcome. The point is you are using the rules to assist the DM and Players to craft an adventure and as such the rules are only to be followed when they are convenient.



But none of that justifies not having the rules in the first place.  There are DMs who can and will ignore rules as they see fit.  There are also DMs who want coherent and thorough rules because they want to focus on other things, and not the minutia of how things work.




Surely we can all agree that it is easier, cleaner, and simpler if the rules are light with the option to improvise and or add house rules, than to have a set of robust rules in the core that you have to surgically extract or ignore with all of the complications that that includes, and then add in your improvisation and or houserules.

A quick note on houserules vs improvisation: The two are not the same but an improvisation can evolve into a houserule, but not all improvisations are houserules. And that's a key concept to wrap ones' head around. By using a rule light system you can easily and quickly come up with an improvisation on the fly and in fact this is a significant part of the 1E and 2E game experience. You can think of it as a core game mechanic. It's part of the concept of roleplaying, although perhaps not technically a roleplaying concept itself, it creates the need to engage in improvisation to adjudicate some unique situation, creating a kind of a Skill Challenge effect between the DM and the player, and this is most definitely what the 5E playtest rules are testing: Can you improvise a lot of those rules that were contained in the 3.5E and 4E editions and have fun doing it, just like back in the 1E and 2E editions, or do we need to layer on more gaming mechanics?

If so then the core light rules are nearly complete. If not then perhaps the game designers need to layer on a few more 'standard' rules like Opportunity attacks and such.

Houserules on the other hand are not improvisations, they are codified standard rules that your gaming group uses consistently from one play session to another, and I agree that 5E should do it's best to include as many of those 'houserules' as possible that are popular amongst the whole D&D gaming community. So, if a WotC survey comes out indicating that most players want an Attack of Opportunity mechanic in the core system then it should definitely be included. Otherwise, if only a small proportion of players think that they need this mechanic in the core rules then leave it out and let those gaming groups that want it use a houserule or simply improvise each gaming session.

For myself I want more combat maneuvers for the fighter contained within the core class rules in order to make the class more interesting from round to round, even possibly an AoO mechanic if it can be implemented without causing the whole session to come to a screeching halt, but having it or not having it isn't a big deal to me, I'm pretty sure that I would be just as happy to improvise an AoO each time it came up rather than creating some houserule. I'm a big fan of improvisation but much less a fan of houserules.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
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