Why shouldn't Fighters be as strong as Magic Users?

I've seen a lot of people state that magic should be much more powerful than mundane, simply because it is magic, and that as a result magic users should be more powerful than their sword swinging brethren.  This of course leads to the problems of the past where fighters could easily be relegated to torchbearers.

But why shouldn't fighters be as strong as magic users?  Why do fighters have to be the guys who just swing a sword?

Why not instead base them on the legendary fighters of myth and legend?  People like Heracles, Beowulf, Cu Cuhlainn.  What they do is not just hitting things with a sword.  What they do is supernatural, and that should be what we are basing fighters on.  This is a game of fantasy after all, and it stands to reason that we shouldn't base magic users on fantasy and fighters simply on reality.

And also, perhaps, fighters should get built in spell resistance.  How often in the stories and legends do we see the fighter shrug aside the evil magic user's spells and keep on going?
I've seen a lot of people state that magic should be much more powerful than mundane, simply because it is magic, and that as a result magic users should be more powerful than their sword swinging brethren.

The actual whine is sort of a reverse of that.  Not that wizards should be living gods, but that fighters must never be the least bit supernatural.
"Wizards may be able to do any-damn-thing by wiggling a finger, but by gawd that fighter better be completely realistic dammit!!!"

The strength isn't my main beef. It's the complexity.

When people argue that fighters are dumb and should stay that way, and that just means "improv is the answer!", they never have an answer when the tables are turned. Why not have a fighter, a war veteran, a seasoned and experienced soldier, have lots of different feints, tactics, grapples, dodges, massive strikes and little jabs to play with, even at level 1, and the wizard, a bookish student who experiences the world through reading instead of doing, has a single magic missile spell, and can use it twice in one turn as a daily (but only after you level up)? I mean, there's just as much room for improvising, right? That was the answer you gave the fighter, why not the wizard as well?

The answer is "because that's not the way I'm used to doing it", and I don't think that's a good enough answer.

Give complex and simple options for both fighters and wizards. Give tactical, inventive and strategic fighters as well as "I hit it with my axe, again" fighters, give "I just learned magic missile, yay!" wizards as well as "the universe is my plaything" wizards. Keeping fighters mentally handicapped out of nostalgia isn't fair to people who want to play with characters outside of the stereotype box.
Heracles was a demigod, not just a mortal fighter. He was the son of Zeus. I'm not sure about the other two examples though. But many Greek heroes were demigods...and that meant they were the children of both gods and mortals. The idea of basing your average D & D fighter on a demigod like Heracles is problematic because none of the core races actually have demigod level stats or backgrounds. If you want to make a human fighter with the background of a demigod like Heracles, he would basically have to have a template like half-Celestial or Aasimar.
The strength isn't my main beef. It's the complexity.

When people argue that fighters are dumb and should stay that way, and that just means "improv is the answer!", they never have an answer when the tables are turned. Why not have a fighter, a war veteran, a seasoned and experienced soldier, have lots of different feints, tactics, grapples, dodges, massive strikes and little jabs to play with, even at level 1, and the wizard, a bookish student who experiences the world through reading instead of doing, has a single magic missile spell, and can use it twice in one turn as a daily (but only after you level up)? I mean, there's just as much room for improvising, right? That was the answer you gave the fighter, why not the wizard as well?

The answer is "because that's not the way I'm used to doing it", and I don't think that's a good enough answer.

Give complex and simple options for both fighters and wizards. Give tactical, inventive and strategic fighters as well as "I hit it with my axe, again" fighters, give "I just learned magic missile, yay!" wizards as well as "the universe is my plaything" wizards. Keeping fighters mentally handicapped out of nostalgia isn't fair to people who want to play with characters outside of the stereotype box.



Fighters aren't dumb...they just choose to learn the art of mundane warfare as their career choice.
Realistically speaking, a real life soldier, general, or admiral can have an above average or genius level IQ, but he can still sign up for the military.
Indeed, many captains, generals and admirals "leveled up" in real life not because of any magic ability or super strength, but because they used their brains and they were good at their jobs. A powerful admiral of a navy needs a high level of charisma, wisdom, and intelligence to suceed.

Here's the reason fighters are less complex in core and I think that ought to be so.

The core execution -- before applying any modules -- should be the simplest complete execution of the concept.  The simplest complete execution of the fighter is VERY simple: he uses weapons and armor and has the best combat math.  Simplicity is assured by lack of subsystems, while completness comes from the fact that, with good enough attack and damage, you ought still be able to cut a dragon in half.

The simplest complete execution of Wizards and clerics is goign to be mildly more complex, since they need some variation on "Spells" to be complete.  Whether vancian or the new psuedo-vancian divine magic is the simplest execution that is still complete is something I am unsure of: something like 3.5's Warlock is absolutley simpler, but might not be a full execution of the "Wizard" concept. 

Given its history in D&D and the ease of its mechanical resource tracking (I for one have never witnessed in all my hears of gaming indecision over spell prep, while PP tracking HAS been a pain), Vancian is certainly a complete execution of the Wizard.  Keeping it simple might be best done with a vanishingly small spell list: less than 10 spells per spell level at core (3-5 is ideal), probably a couple more at 1st and fewer at high level since the new and elegant "prepare in higher slot for bigger effects" mechanic eliminates any need for "Series" spells like Lesser/Greater Planar Binding or Summon Monster I-X.

Building on this, there should be modules on release that present higher complexity versions of the classes:  Tactics & Maneuvers for the fighter, Extended Magic for the casterly types.

So yeah, I'm one of those "Jerks" who calls for simple core fighters, but it's due to something I realized very early on in these debates.  A lot of people would have you think that complexity equals power.  The fact of the matter is that power equals power, nothing else.  Fighters need, from a game design perspective, power on par with casters.  They do not need an equal level of complexity.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
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

This opinion probably requires the follow suppositions to be agreed to:


  • You are looking for a logical argument with real world parallels

  • You put a higher emphasis on simulation that balance

  • A bigger emphasis on roleplay then character power.

  • A campaign setting with high magic.



You don't have to agree with this opinion, but it is mine.

Magic should be a huge deal. Socieities in various campaign settings use magic to live as confortably as we do modern day by the use of magic. It is to them what technology is to us only worse.

Technology for us is something of a level playing field. Most likely you didn't program the computer you are reading this on, but you can still use it. Our technology puts the power of the genius in the hand of the common man.

Magic usually doesn't work this way. Only those that dedicate themselves to years of hard study can use it. It would be like you having to learn to program in assembly to use your computer. This creates an inherently unfair system.

Then you have fighters who are essentially living in the dark ages. Their swords and armor protect them quite well against other swords and armor, but match that up against a person who can shoot armor piercing magic missiles from a distance, turn invisible and make their skin as hard as a rock so your sword is worthless that advantage seems kind of insignificant.

Also, please consider that sometimes this doesn't make sense. In some settings magic is weak, wizards can still use it but it is more of a supplement to existing tricks and all you have to do is get close enough to get your sword into them and it is game over.
Eventually, no amount of hard, mundane training in a feaux-medieval setting will even come close to overcoming such supernatural threats as evil wizards, let alone dragons. Parity has to be achieved somewhere.

Here's the reason fighters are less complex in core and I think that ought to be so.

The core execution -- before applying any modules -- should be the simplest complete execution of the concept.  ...



Oh, come now, I can think of a VASTLY simpler implementation of a spellcaster without even breaking a sweat.

For instance it would be perfectly in keeping with the 'wizard trope' to have a magic user that could do exactly one thing. Maybe he can apply a bit of variation to that thing, maybe he can even make a super effort and do a better version now and then. At higher levels his thing gets stronger and perhaps a bit more versatile. That would easily fulfill the concept of a wizard. It could easily be balanced with the simple fighter too. Imagine an AD&D 1e fighter, he can attack things, that's about it. He gets extra attacks at higher levels. What pray tell is the difference between this character and a wizard that can shoot a magic missile and at higher levels gets to shoot 2 or 3 or whatever magic missiles? Both being PCs with access to whatever else the rules allow PCs in general to do they're otherwise notionally equal. Magical attacks can for instance affect certain targets differently (like weapon attacks do now and then too). Each one can be distinct in this way, but both equally simple.

Of course I doubt this design will be seen as suitable to many people, will it? NOW are people getting the point about the overly simplistic fighter?
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Of course I doubt this design will be seen as suitable to many people, will it? NOW are people getting the point about the overly simplistic fighter?



You design is exactly what I have been saying should be the core spellcaster.

If you believe the "Magic Missile Spammer" is a complete Wizard, then it absolutley follows that should be the core execution.  I'm not sure your wrong -- I made my case for Vancian, but I do admit I might be off base here.

Though I think that if we're going to throw one spell, it ought to be elemental damage rather than the typeless or Force MM/Eldritch Blast -- Tim the Enchanter and his fire blasts, say.

EDIT: While I think you might be onto something in that "one spell makes a complete wizard character", If you go that road with your wizard trope I don't think one spell makes the class any more than fighters are limited to a single weapon.  Wizard A might be able to Magic Missile and only Magic Missile, while Wizard B might be able to Summon and only Summon or Polyself and only Polyself (the last perhaps being the Simplest Complete Execution of Druid, with Wild Shape as the primary class feature)

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
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

To answer the OP's question, there's no correct answer - it's a matter of opinion.  You're asking whether magic-users should outperform their martial counterparts.  Well, it depends on what kind of campaign people want to run.  The question itself assumes that magic exists, and so as long as we're inventing things we can invent parameters for them, as well.  We can choose to have magic-users be all-powerful, or completely underwhelming why-bother's.  There's no reason, apart from because some guy likes it that way, for it to be otherwise.

My opinion is that balanced gameplay is crucial in order for the players to have fun;  it may mesh better with whatever world the DM decides he's creating for magic to be significantly more powerful than martial abilities, but doing so is disruptive to that balance.
 


Then you have fighters who are essentially living in the dark ages. Their swords and armor protect them quite well against other swords and armor, but match that up against a person who can shoot armor piercing magic missiles from a distance, turn invisible and make their skin as hard as a rock so your sword is worthless that advantage seems kind of insignificant.



Go and look at some of the tricks that fighters of myths and legends were doing - they regularly went up against magic users, and more often than not mopped the floor with them.

We have to get away from the idea that fighters have to be based in dark ages realism and look beyond that to examples from the myths.  If it is good enough for magic users, why isn't it good enough for fighters?

Otherwise why have the fighters in the first place?  Lets just all play magic users.

Go and look at some of the tricks that fighters of myths and legends were doing - they regularly went up against magic users, and more often than not mopped the floor with them.

We have to get away from the idea that fighters have to be based in dark ages realism and look beyond that to examples from the myths.  If it is good enough for magic users, why isn't it good enough for fighters?

Otherwise why have the fighters in the first place?  Lets just all play magic users.




Like I said in that post it depends entirely on your fanasty setting. I was mostly talking about the Forgotten Realms where godly wizards were around a lot and regular ones were fairly commonplace in many areas.

The fact that you want to pick fighters out of myth and ignore realism makes you in instant disagreement with my post which openly states a preference for realism. You want a different style of campaign then I do and that is totally fine. What should be realized is not that people need to discard my ideas for yours or visa-versa. Rather people should realise both exist and create a system both can play in.

I am not saying you should be forced into my realism, I was explain why some people, myself included want what they want. My reasons for my opinion are just as valid as yours and there is no reason for either of us to be left in the code if WotC truly embraces the modular concept.
Go and look at some of the tricks that fighters of myths and legends were doing - they regularly went up against magic users, and more often than not mopped the floor with them.

We have to get away from the idea that fighters have to be based in dark ages realism and look beyond that to examples from the myths.  If it is good enough for magic users, why isn't it good enough for fighters?

Otherwise why have the fighters in the first place?  Lets just all play magic users.


But the tea man! By Jove, if we're all playing Wizards then who will carry our tea!


So yeah, I'm one of those "Jerks" who calls for simple core fighters, but it's due to something I realized very early on in these debates.  A lot of people would have you think that complexity equals power.  The fact of the matter is that power equals power, nothing else.  Fighters need, from a game design perspective, power on par with casters.  They do not need an equal level of complexity.



I don't agree. Complexity = ability to deal with different situations, Simplicity = lack of ability to deal with different situations.

To give a very simplified example, let's say the Fighter can only attack with melee weapons and can't move. The Wizard can zap from range and zaps and attacks do the same amount of damage. The Fighter as powerful as the Wizard as long as both players are standing next to the target, but once the target moves away, the Wizard has the complexity needed to deal with a target who runs away and the Fighter doesn't.

To use the current playtest as an example, the Wizard can at-will zap things from range, zap them more effectively at melee, stop them from moving, and three times a day either hurt a lot of enemies at once, protect themselves, or either partially or fully disable a lot of enemies. This gives the Wizard quite a bit of ability to damage single targets and multiple targets, defend themselves against targets attacking them, degrade enemy movement or stun enemies. (This is just in-combat class abilities for the moment)

The Fighter has less ability to deal with different situations - they can hit things that are standing next to them, and they can hit things less effectively from range. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Of course I doubt this design will be seen as suitable to many people, will it? NOW are people getting the point about the overly simplistic fighter?



You design is exactly what I have been saying should be the core spellcaster.


Right, there are 2 possible ways to go clearly. Either the core fighter and the core wizard can be simple, with one thing they can each do, plus whatever improvisation they can come up with, OR they can both have the option to be characters with lots of choices of 'powers'. Either one is reasonable and has its advantages.

What isn't reasonable is someone saying that a fighter "can just improvise" but a wizard "has to have lots of spells" to be a wizard. FAR too many people come here and try to make this argument. It will never fly. It never made sense and it was never especially fair to the players, even if they will put up with it.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
While I come to the same conclusion but I reach it a different way. For me it is all about the system being modular enough to allow maximum customization. The more complicated the core is the harder applying customization becomes.
But it's tradition, and that's all that matters to some people.

Fighters are dumb, and for dumb players. Wizards are smart, and for smart players. That's the beginning and end to them.
If you believe the "Magic Missile Spammer" is a complete Wizard, then it absolutley follows that should be the core execution.  I'm not sure your wrong -- I made my case for Vancian, but I do admit I might be off base here.

Though I think that if we're going to throw one spell, it ought to be elemental damage rather than the typeless or Force MM/Eldritch Blast -- Tim the Enchanter and his fire blasts, say.

EDIT: While I think you might be onto something in that "one spell makes a complete wizard character", If you go that road with your wizard trope I don't think one spell makes the class any more than fighters are limited to a single weapon.  Wizard A might be able to Magic Missile and only Magic Missile, while Wizard B might be able to Summon and only Summon or Polyself and only Polyself (the last perhaps being the Simplest Complete Execution of Druid, with Wild Shape as the primary class feature)

Oh, sure, there are INFINITE possible 'one trick wizards' out there. I didn't mean to imply the class should be restricted to one possible build and just "magic missile" (or whatever) as the only option.

Honestly my one-spell wizard is kinda sorta meant to be only half-serious, but it isn't inherently a bad idea. It would require the game to pick up the slack in other ways is all. Wizards would get magic staffs that let them do other stuff, and fighters would get magic swords, etc. It is at least a useful exercise to go through.

The 5e core rules as we have them now would support this kind of thing reasonably well too. You'd need a bit more guidelines on improvising and some rules for how your spell scaled etc, but nothing too tough. Even I have to admit though that at a certain point the exercise has diverged a bit far from what most people call D&D.
That is not dead which may eternal lie

The fact that you want to pick fighters out of myth and ignore realism makes you in instant disagreement with my post which openly states a preference for realism. You want a different style of campaign then I do and that is totally fine. What should be realized is not that people need to discard my ideas for yours or visa-versa. Rather people should realise both exist and create a system both can play in.

I am not saying you should be forced into my realism, I was explain why some people, myself included want what they want. My reasons for my opinion are just as valid as yours and there is no reason for either of us to be left in the code if WotC truly embraces the modular concept.



Okay, if we are going with realism, shouldn't realism apply to all classes then, not just fighters?  Monks?  No fancy moves for them - all they can do is hit and kick.  No wall running, water walking and all the other things they do in legend.

Saying some classes have to be based in realism and not others won't work, nor is it fair to all.

While I come to the same conclusion but I reach it a different way. For me it is all about the system being modular enough to allow maximum customization. The more complicated the core is the harder applying customization becomes.


Cool, now we collectively have more reasons for the idea than before.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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Yup. I am against the magical monk. A monk can have techniques such as take downs but all of that would fall in the improv area for me.

It was why I didn't like the 3.5e ninja. It was all mystical when people managed to be perfectly good ninja without magical powers. Giving the monk wall walking and walking on water makes it a lot harder if you want to have Kwai Chang Caine in your campaign.

Basically, unless you have a reason to say, 'this is magical' I don't think it should be magical. Making it magical takes away from how impressive it is without being magical. 
While I come to the same conclusion but I reach it a different way. For me it is all about the system being modular enough to allow maximum customization. The more complicated the core is the harder applying customization becomes.


Cool, now we collectively have more reasons for the idea than before.




The way I see it the more reasons the merrier.

Like I said in that post it depends entirely on your fanasty setting. I was mostly talking about the Forgotten Realms where godly wizards were around a lot and regular ones were fairly commonplace in many areas.

The fact that you want to pick fighters out of myth and ignore realism makes you in instant disagreement with my post which openly states a preference for realism. You want a different style of campaign then I do and that is totally fine. What should be realized is not that people need to discard my ideas for yours or visa-versa. Rather people should realise both exist and create a system both can play in.

I am not saying you should be forced into my realism, I was explain why some people, myself included want what they want. My reasons for my opinion are just as valid as yours and there is no reason for either of us to be left in the code if WotC truly embraces the modular concept.



realism



Inigo sez:

You keep using that word. I don't think it means quite what you think it means.



If you want "realism", then there should be no PC wizards at all. One cannot use the words "dragon" "fireball" "wizard" in any example where you are trying to illustrate realism, unless you are denying their existence. Since I know that you want wizards, dragons and such, then we know that realism simply cannot be your goal.

Once we have thrown "realism" out the door, then all the tropes of myth and fantasy return to the table, including Fighters who can defeat wizards and dragons with training, grit and determination, Fighters like Conan.

In fact, the D&D Wizard is little more than a nerd power fantasy. D&D (and things inspired by D&D, such as WoW and it's ilk) is the only place where magic is as easy and commonplace. More often than not in fantasy literature and myth, magic comes with a high price, and the wizard who relies on magic to do everything quickly burns out by constantly channeling energies man was not meant to wield.


The fact that you want to pick fighters out of myth and ignore realism makes you in instant disagreement with my post which openly states a preference for realism. You want a different style of campaign then I do and that is totally fine. What should be realized is not that people need to discard my ideas for yours or visa-versa. Rather people should realise both exist and create a system both can play in.

I am not saying you should be forced into my realism, I was explain why some people, myself included want what they want. My reasons for my opinion are just as valid as yours and there is no reason for either of us to be left in the code if WotC truly embraces the modular concept.



Okay, if we are going with realism, shouldn't realism apply to all classes then, not just fighters?  Monks?  No fancy moves for them - all they can do is hit and kick.  No wall running, water walking and all the other things they do in legend.

Saying some classes have to be based in realism and not others won't work, nor is it fair to all.





Talking about all classes needing to be based in realism and Monk is what comes to mind? I want to know what's remotely realistic about a Wizard or Sorcerer. What's realistic about a Cleric? Wizards in real life are all sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors, and bluff. Clerics in real life have no special powers or magic.

Remember, we are talking about Dungeons and Dragons. It is Fantasy. Not real life. No player characters should be stuck dealing with what is possible in real life in a game where half the classes use magic to alter reality to their whims. If that is what you want, something that is exactly real unless you have actual magic, then only classes with actual magic should be available as PC classes.

But the second you offer both Fighter and Wizard as PC classes that are expected to opperate together, then both classes should be able to contribute equally. If that means Fighters and Monks need to break the laws of reality, then that's what needs to happen. 
Yup. I am against the magical monk. A monk can have techniques such as take downs but all of that would fall in the improv area for me.

It was why I didn't like the 3.5e ninja. It was all mystical when people managed to be perfectly good ninja without magical powers. Giving the monk wall walking and walking on water makes it a lot harder if you want to have Kwai Chang Caine in your campaign.

Basically, unless you have a reason to say, 'this is magical' I don't think it should be magical. Making it magical takes away from how impressive it is without being magical. 

Wow, we're playing drastically different games.

Which is why I want powers, rules, and mechanics, and think it's better for everyone than leaving everything up to the DM, for this reason - if you want your neutered monks, pathetic fighters and all powerful wizards, more power to you, just cut out those bits, it's easy. If I want all the bells and whistles, instead of having to make it all up myself, with all the imbalance and testing and changing that involves, I'd rather have a set of well-designed, flexible and interesting mechanics that were actually made by the game designers. Do you see how we both win my way?

If you want "realism", then there should be no PC wizards at all. One cannot use the words "dragon" "fireball" "wizard" in any example where you are trying to illustrate realism, unless you are denying their existence. Since I know that you want wizards, dragons and such, then we know that realism simply cannot be your goal.

Once we have thrown "realism" out the door, then all the tropes of myth and fantasy return to the table, including Fighters who can defeat wizards and dragons with training, grit and determination, Fighters like Conan.

In fact, the D&D Wizard is little more than a nerd power fantasy. D&D (and things inspired by D&D, such as WoW and it's ilk) is the only place where magic is as easy and commonplace. More often than not in fantasy literature and myth, magic comes with a high price, and the wizard who relies on magic to do everything quickly burns out by constantly channeling energies man was not meant to wield.



One can take this point of view. Then again one can choose to explore a realistic like world where one or two of the rules change or don't apply. This is the making of many great fictions. It is my opinion that if you don't maintain some level of realism it just gets out of control and does become a power fanasty(not that people aren't entitled to those or that they are bad.)

Also, as I have mentioned elsewhere magic is anything but easy in D&D. Most casters study for a long time to be able to use it. Those that are born with it are often misunderstood and find it disturbing their lives. There are some magic comes to without hard work or heavy price, but they are anything but common.



Yup. I am against the magical monk. A monk can have techniques such as take downs but all of that would fall in the improv area for me.

It was why I didn't like the 3.5e ninja. It was all mystical when people managed to be perfectly good ninja without magical powers. Giving the monk wall walking and walking on water makes it a lot harder if you want to have Kwai Chang Caine in your campaign.

Basically, unless you have a reason to say, 'this is magical' I don't think it should be magical. Making it magical takes away from how impressive it is without being magical. 

Wow, we're playing drastically different games.

Which is why I want powers, rules, and mechanics, and think it's better for everyone than leaving everything up to the DM, for this reason - if you want your neutered monks, pathetic fighters and all powerful wizards, more power to you, just cut out those bits, it's easy. If I want all the bells and whistles, instead of having to make it all up myself, with all the imbalance and testing and changing that involves, I'd rather have a set of well-designed, flexible and interesting mechanics that were actually made by the game designers. Do you see how we both win my way?



And how hard is it to open a module and say 'add this'. It is easier than handing someone the core then handing them a new module that says 'subtract this, morph this, change this.'

I am all for you having everything you want and me having everything I want. I don't see how either of our things really needs to be core, certianly not powerful wizards. It is easier to break balance then fix it with modules. I think the core should be balanced but simple. 

We both win my way too. It is just a cleaner system if we both apply modules instead of one of us having to strip the others out.

p.s. I am not making a case for more powerful wizard in the core. I don't want that. I am making a case for those that like them. Some people think that it is all a trick so that wizard players can lord over little underlings. There is more to it than that.

Magic users need artificial restrictions which systems like Vancian system provide because magic is fantastic and could literally have no limits. Physical actions are mundane and can lend itself to improv a lot more because there are physical limitations. I find the fact that a Fighter can improv a lot more flexible in combat than a Wizard who is bound to his memorized spells per day.


So yeah, I'm one of those "Jerks" who calls for simple core fighters, but it's due to something I realized very early on in these debates.  A lot of people would have you think that complexity equals power.  The fact of the matter is that power equals power, nothing else.  Fighters need, from a game design perspective, power on par with casters.  They do not need an equal level of complexity.



I don't agree. Complexity = ability to deal with different situations, Simplicity = lack of ability to deal with different situations.

To give a very simplified example, let's say the Fighter can only attack with melee weapons and can't move. The Wizard can zap from range and zaps and attacks do the same amount of damage. The Fighter as powerful as the Wizard as long as both players are standing next to the target, but once the target moves away, the Wizard has the complexity needed to deal with a target who runs away and the Fighter doesn't.

To use the current playtest as an example, the Wizard can at-will zap things from range, zap them more effectively at melee, stop them from moving, and three times a day either hurt a lot of enemies at once, protect themselves, or either partially or fully disable a lot of enemies. This gives the Wizard quite a bit of ability to damage single targets and multiple targets, defend themselves against targets attacking them, degrade enemy movement or stun enemies. (This is just in-combat class abilities for the moment)

The Fighter has less ability to deal with different situations - they can hit things that are standing next to them, and they can hit things less effectively from range. 

Actually, Fighters have an ability that wizards have to dedicate tremendous magical resources to try to even begin to emulate: and that's the ability to get in and mix it up with enemies.  The fighter can toss enemies around, pick them up and hit other enemies with them, grapple them to a standstill, physically force enemies to respond to his or her presence through raw physical destructiveness, etc.

Are these things that wizards, technically, can also attempt?  Yeah, of course, but good luck surviving more than a round or two trying stuff like that.

Those are (complex) options that fighters have that simply aren't there for wizards.  Do these need to be spells?  No, because there's nothing exclusive to the fighter about these abilities, except for the fact that the fighter has the resilience and the strength to make them effective.


So yeah, I'm one of those "Jerks" who calls for simple core fighters, but it's due to something I realized very early on in these debates.  A lot of people would have you think that complexity equals power.  The fact of the matter is that power equals power, nothing else.  Fighters need, from a game design perspective, power on par with casters.  They do not need an equal level of complexity.



I don't agree. Complexity = ability to deal with different situations, Simplicity = lack of ability to deal with different situations.

To give a very simplified example, let's say the Fighter can only attack with melee weapons and can't move. The Wizard can zap from range and zaps and attacks do the same amount of damage. The Fighter as powerful as the Wizard as long as both players are standing next to the target, but once the target moves away, the Wizard has the complexity needed to deal with a target who runs away and the Fighter doesn't.

To use the current playtest as an example, the Wizard can at-will zap things from range, zap them more effectively at melee, stop them from moving, and three times a day either hurt a lot of enemies at once, protect themselves, or either partially or fully disable a lot of enemies. This gives the Wizard quite a bit of ability to damage single targets and multiple targets, defend themselves against targets attacking them, degrade enemy movement or stun enemies. (This is just in-combat class abilities for the moment)

The Fighter has less ability to deal with different situations - they can hit things that are standing next to them, and they can hit things less effectively from range. 



Complexity is, in part, bredth of options.  Let's play a game called "Trivial extremes".  The goal here is to take thought experiment cases of the most extreme execution of a concept.  I'm goign to build one sample on the extreme of Power and Simplicity, and the other on the extreme of complexity.

The Simple|Powerful extreme character has two abilities (not one, because we're maximizing power).  The first is a passive ability "Immune to Everything".  This is also its rules text -- the character is immune to absolutley everything.  The second ability is "Chop!" which has the rules text "Target dies."  No restrictions, no defense (except presumably ItE, since "Chop!" is part of everything).

The Complex extreme character can be modled as a 20th level 3.5 Sorcerer with every spell ever printed for 3.5 as a spell known, or perhaps as a 30th level 4e character with every power ever printed.  Take your pick, it doesn't really matter matter.  Hell, mash the two together for some hybrid-edition frankencomplexity

One example has thousands of options, the other has just one, but the one is, without a doubt, stronger.  It ALWAYS wins or at the very least never loses.



Now let's step back a minute from this theoretical extreme and take a look at your example.  You start out with two 'equal' characters (they do the same damage) then posit one with a means of damage dealing that is more versitile.  At best, this is a misrepresentation -- you have proved that versitility can be a component of power.

In the current playtest, the L1 Wizard can zap things at range for 1d4+1 with 100% hit. Expected damage: 3.5.  Or, they can zap in melee for 1d8+3 with a roll-to-hit.  According to D&D tradition, our expectation of a hit is about 50% so that's an expected damage of 3.75.

The L1 Fighter can attack in melee for 2d6+7 with a roll to hit and 3 damage on a miss, for expected damage of 8.5, over double that of the Wizard.  He can attack at range for 1d8+5 with 1 damage on a miss, for expected damage of 5.25, marginally more than what you see out of Magic Missile

The fighter has a hugely better AC and some extra hit points, and the gulf in the later only widens as levels progress, while the fighter can improve the first to some degree and the wizard cannot.

The Wizard has added versitility from Ray of Frost and the limited spells he is able to prepare

You can tell me that you find the current fighter boring, and I will not be able to deny you, whether I agree or not, because that's a matter of personal opinion and beyond that you do have some cause there.  But, at the moment, the fighter's numbers declare him to be solidly the best at (surprise, surprise) fighting.



(As a second example, I'll step back into the land of 3.5, and the Tier System.  If you don't know, but the time 3.5 ended, theorycrafting had sorted the current classes into a set of tiers, 1-6.  lower numbers meant stronger, adjacent tiers could usually play well with each other, and most people found tiers 3&4 to be the happy balance point.  Over the course of an adventure or campaign, it would be expected that two characters of the same tier would level out to about the same power level.

Tier 4 included the Warlock.  For those who don't know, 3.5's Warlock may have been the simplest class of the edition, because a fighter's feat selection often ended up creating far more labyrinthine complexity than having only one class feature let on.  Tier 4 also included the Spellthief, one of the classes that had a ton of fiddly little abilities to do anything sort of but nothing really well.  The great thing about me stating these characters are equal is that I have actual evidence, and the work of other people to back it up.  A little north of those two, Tier 3 hosts both the narrow and deadly Dread Necromancer and the broadest class ever devised -- Factotum.)

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
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

Thank you Satyris, I agree completely.  Even in the example given the fighter can whip out a spear, dagger or bow and arrow.  Heck he can throw a grapple at the fool who tried to run and drag him back.

Magic is more "powerful" than mundane because its generally circumstancial, linear, and have a finite pool.  Magic missle isn't more powerful than a bow and arrow, shocking grasp isn't more powerful than a sword, they are generally much weaker than a fighter's attacks and basically are a flavourful replacement for wizards wielding crossbows.  Because that's just wierd.

Fighters will likely be granted more power from their themes than wizards, but really from what I've seen so far there have been more people jumping for the fighters and rogues than for the wizards.

Also fighters often do get a built in resistance to many spells, they're called hit points.  Though you may have a point, giving them a force of will to shrug off wimpy charms could be a neat option.  But it should be an option more than core, because not everyone wants to play a fighter of legend, some want to play adventurers they can more easily relate to.
 But it should be an option more than core, because not everyone wants to play a fighter of legend, some want to play adventurers they can more easily relate to.



 I am from an era where fighters wield neuclear warheads... with technological know how. I relate somewhat less to a farmhand than a fighter of myth and legend.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

 But it should be an option more than core, because not everyone wants to play a fighter of legend, some want to play adventurers they can more easily relate to.



 I am from an era where fighters wield neuclear warheads... with technological know how. I relate somewhat less to a farmhand than a fighter of myth and legend.



you should probably play a cleric, radiant damage seems pretty close to nuclear and have him worship the doctrine of progress.
 But it should be an option more than core, because not everyone wants to play a fighter of legend, some want to play adventurers they can more easily relate to.



 I am from an era where fighters wield neuclear warheads... with technological know how. I relate somewhat less to a farmhand than a fighter of myth and legend.



you should probably play a cleric, radiant damage seems pretty close to nuclear and have him worship the doctrine of progress.



Cuh Culaine is on my list of flavors... the guy definitely had high end equipment. And a set of well defined cool moves.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Basically the fundamental argument goes: Fighters are limited by reality and wizards aren't limited by anything, so wizards are going to be intrinsically superior regardless of what you do.

Which of course is pretty nonsensical all around, because wizards are limited by the rules. Their spells might not be bound by the laws of physics or reality, but they are bound by the fact that the spell has to be written for them to use it.

The wizard and fighter are basically as powerful or weak as the designers choose to make him. Having the ability to bend reality really doesn't matter as far as power level, because ultimately both are specifically limited by the rules anyway.
Which of course is pretty nonsensical all around, because wizards are limited by the rules. Their spells might not be bound by the laws of physics or reality, but they are bound by the fact that the spell has to be written for them to use it.



Sometimes players are allowed to write their own spells.

Of course this is has to be approved by the DM and other players and the spell has to be on par with other spells of it level, but I would always allow it, just as I would always allow a fighter to create a fighting style all his own. The idea that you are now a powerful wizard but unable to write a spell as simple as light is silly.

What you say is true in a game sense though. In 4e wizards are not more powerful than anyone else because the rules say so.

 
Complexity is, in part, bredth of options.  Let's play a game called "Trivial extremes".  The goal here is to take thought experiment cases of the most extreme execution of a concept.  I'm goign to build one sample on the extreme of Power and Simplicity, and the other on the extreme of complexity.

The Simple|Powerful extreme character has two abilities (not one, because we're maximizing power).  The first is a passive ability "Immune to Everything".  This is also its rules text -- the character is immune to absolutley everything.  The second ability is "Chop!" which has the rules text "Target dies."  No restrictions, no defense (except presumably ItE, since "Chop!" is part of everything).

The Complex extreme character can be modled as a 20th level 3.5 Sorcerer with every spell ever printed for 3.5 as a spell known, or perhaps as a 30th level 4e character with every power ever printed.  Take your pick, it doesn't really matter matter.  Hell, mash the two together for some hybrid-edition frankencomplexity

One example has thousands of options, the other has just one, but the one is, without a doubt, stronger.  It ALWAYS wins or at the very least never loses.



Bit of a reducto ad absurdum. However, even in that scenario the Complex Extreme character is stronger than the other, because the Complex Extreme Character has access to Wish, Planar Gate, Time Stop, etc. The Complex Extreme Character can do more things in more scenarios. The Simple Powerful Character can only move their regular move distance and Chop. 

And as a matter of game design, which is more enjoyable to play? 


(As a second example, I'll step back into the land of 3.5, and the Tier System.  If you don't know, but the time 3.5 ended, theorycrafting had sorted the current classes into a set of tiers, 1-6.  lower numbers meant stronger, adjacent tiers could usually play well with each other, and most people found tiers 3&4 to be the happy balance point.  Over the course of an adventure or campaign, it would be expected that two characters of the same tier would level out to about the same power level.

Tier 4 included the Warlock.  For those who don't know, 3.5's Warlock may have been the simplest class of the edition, because a fighter's feat selection often ended up creating far more labyrinthine complexity than having only one class feature let on.  Tier 4 also included the Spellthief, one of the classes that had a ton of fiddly little abilities to do anything sort of but nothing really well.  The great thing about me stating these characters are equal is that I have actual evidence, and the work of other people to back it up.  A little north of those two, Tier 3 hosts both the narrow and deadly Dread Necromancer and the broadest class ever devised -- Factotum.)



And which Tier was the Fighter? Oh yeah, 5. 

Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
The point of trivial extremes is that the answer to your question is "neither".  It's part of logical thought, taking the most extreme cases and attempting to analyze them  for a good example of someone WAY more talented than me doing this (with regards to game design no less), look here

And yes, fighters were tier 5 -- but the point was not simply fighters versus wizards, it was complexity versus power, which is only tangental to matters.  The fighter's place is not germane.  If anything, the fact that the fighter, with a selection of a broad spectrum of feats, falls behind the warlock who only gets a few invocations from a small pool, supports the point that more complex is not necessarily better.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
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

The point of trivial extremes is that the answer to your question is "neither".  It's part of logical thought, taking the most extreme cases and attempting to analyze them  for a good example of someone WAY more talented than me doing this (with regards to game design no less), look here

And yes, fighters were tier 5 -- but the point was not simply fighters versus wizards, it was complexity versus power, which is only tangental to matters.  The fighter's place is not germane.  If anything, the fact that the fighter, with a selection of a broad spectrum of feats, falls behind the warlock who only gets a few invocations from a small pool, supports the point that more complex is not necessarily better.




False equivalency. Mainly because you fail to recognize what the tiers are.

Yes, the difference between 4 and 5 isn't so much about versatility. Tier 5 represents having a niche role, and still sucking at that role. Tier 4 is having a niche role, and being actually good at it. An ubercharger that can kill anything in the game in one shot is still only tier 4. Raw Power alone does not make a character high tier.

To get from tier 4 to tier 3, you need to be able to do well in a single area, much like a tier 4, but also be able to contribute outside of their niche. A tier 2 is a step above in raw power, being able to break the game in a few specific ways, while still having the versatility to do other things. Tier 1 has all the raw power of a tier 2, but even more versatility, the ability to break the game in every way there is, being better than everyone at everything, if one tactic doesn't work the next day they'll have a totally different tactic that is just  as broken.

So yes, Warlocks don't have more versatility than Fighters, and they are considered better. This however isn't proof that versatility does not equal power. The tier system at its core is about raw versatility being power. Right now, the DDN fighter got brought up to Tier 4, by virtue of its numbers being high enough to be good at its role. But it lacks any sort of versatility. And that is at the heart of why people are clammoring about fighters sucking.