What's the point of the Fighter?

Lots of talk lately about expertise dice, fighter uniqueness, how we should implement it mechanically.  But that's a step beyond, in my opinion.  Before we can do that, we have to identify what the point of the Fighter is:  what they do, why they do it, and why we play them.  I get the sense that there are very different perspectives on this, which results in a...challenging discussion on any of the details.

So...

What's the point of the fighter, to you?  Why do you want it to be a thing?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
A fighter is primarily a sports figure. A boxer.

Not a fantasy archetype. As a name for a fantasy archetype it sucks lets just drop it. 

Warrior can beat it up and take its stuff. 
  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."

 

The fighter is the master of traditional and conventional martial combat. It is that because that is a necessary niche to fill in any fantasy setting.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

its the baseline for other martial class to keep them balanced.

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Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
After reading a bunch of posts on a bunch of threads, I was about to post something about fighters. But I think this thread will let me talk about that a bit.

I've played just about every class in 1st-3rd. I never felt disenfranchised as a fighter in any edition, and I never seemed to overpower the fighters when I was playing something else. I've played a sword-and-shield "knight," a duellist, an archer, and a greatsword specialist. My job was to make things dead, in the fastest and most efficient way I could.

I made my stats fit that job, took weapon proficiencies (and specialisation), feats when they were introduced, and whatever else I could to do that job the best I could manage it. I don't need maneuvers or special powers. I'm one of those players who is content to swing a sword or mace, or fling sticks downrange, and I get a thrill when I tell the DM "I'm aiming for his wrist to eliminate the threat of his evil dagger," and roll, and the DM says I was successful.

Now, I never ran out of point-buy points that I couldn't put points into stats that would let me be effective in non-combat situations. But then, I never expected to be able to pick locks as well as the rogue (unless you count this large, two-handed "lockpick" I have ), or identify magical items except by using them, or heal a companion without using a healing kit, or track as well as the ranger. Sure, I could often see tracks, but the ranger would notice little nuances that would make his tracking more sure or give different conclusions from mine.

Our group likes specialists. Generalists just don't work for us. The druid shouldn't expect to be as good as the fighter in a fight, or as good as the rogue when it comes to sneaking around. When it's time to gather information, we all take part, since different enquiry tactics work on different sorts of people, but when it's time to investigate, the rogue is off. When it's time to scout terrain, the ranger takes the ground route while the mage goes "hawk" and makes the aerial run. But when it's time to fight, fighters to the fore, with archers second rank, while the rest help out. But we fully expect the fighters to do the majority of the damage (and they usually oblige with huge grins).

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

A fighter is primarily a sports figure. A boxer.

Not a fantasy archetype. As a name for a fantasy archetype it sucks lets just drop it. 

Warrior can beat it up and take its stuff. 



That's not the only definition for a fighter. Historically, anyone who fought competitively was a fighter and that included fights to the death with weapons.

The best Fighter ever is Fighter, of course. Swordchucks, yo!

Usually I'm playing a fighter when I want to play a straight forward wade in combat and kill things character. There may or may not be a social or other factors to the character, but they are independent of being a fighter. I also like fighter/rogue characters, who are either skirmishers or balanced between melee/skirmisher.

Despite the prevalence of fighting characters in story and game, there are actually few pure archetypes to draw upon. Most characters in stories are fighters + something else to make the character more interesting.
I think you're right Mand12, there are many different takes on what the Fighter is and should be.

I myself see the Fighter Class as a baseline to allow us to create our version of a character that is a skilled Combatant.  Whether that is a Modern-styled Boxer, a Grecian Warrior-Statesman, a Medieval Man-at-Arms, the Renaissance Duelist-Philosopher, an Eastern Martial Artist or the Noble Knight.  He can be a simple Thug, or a skilled Tactician.  The Soldier, and the Warlord who commands him.

I want the Fighter to have the Mechanical Ability to represent any of these examples. 
I find the fighter a useful class when I have a character concept that uses weapon based fighting, but does not fit other weapon based classes, like barbarian or ranger. Often this is because those other classes come with story baggage that does not fit with my concept. In a sense, the fighter is a blank canvass onto which I can paint a wide range of characters.

To define the fighter, we have to define what is a rogue and what is a ranger.

Some light soldiers/warriors types could be defined as what are rogues and rangers in D&D.

Rangers as two weapons fighters living in the wilderness make no sense in many natural surrounding, including the underdark where the passages can be far too narrow to use more than a single short weapon. And archery in surroundings like average to dense forests is not the best choice regarding combat.

Rogues are totally undefined, they range from the scorbutic beggar to the fearless light two-weapon fighter, but even the scorbutic beggar only see combat from a sneak attacking point of view, even if it's suicidal for him. They are worst than wizards from a concept definition point of view.

The roles I would give to them :
• Fighters are trained to exploit their Strength in combat. So they are best served with heavy weapons and armors.
• Rangers are trained to exploit their Dexterity in combat. (They are the light fighters). They operate better than fighters in difficult natural surrondings, so most of them specialize into this area not covered by fighters.
• Rogues are not trained combattant at all. Most of them develop combat abilities derived from the way they live or survive. The closer to combat training some rogues may have with weapons are based on hit and run tactics. Most are not competent in direct combat, but they are dangerous X-factors during them.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I think you're right Mand12, there are many different takes on what the Fighter is and should be.

I myself see the Fighter Class as a baseline to allow us to create our version of a character that is a skilled Combatant.  Whether that is a Modern-styled Boxer, a Grecian Warrior-Statesman, a Medieval Man-at-Arms, the Renaissance Duelist-Philosopher, an Eastern Martial Artist or the Noble Knight.  He can be a simple Thug, or a skilled Tactician.  The Soldier, and the Warlord who commands him.

I want the Fighter to have the Mechanical Ability to represent any of these examples. 



For so many of those they would have to allow smarts to be used as part of fighting .. but since you know you cant make clever, inspired, precise, tricky, spirited, focused or potent attacks by exploiting perception or intelligence or strength of personality.. It just wont happen its gotta be brute force baby
  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."

 

To me, Fighters are weapon specialists and that use weapon attacks to defeat opponents in combat. Although each individual Fighter may vary in whether they focus on the type of armor they wear, the type of weapons they use, or ranged attacks or melee attacks, they still revolve around weapons.

For me the fighter is the blunt instrument of the group.


The fighter is not a smart man. He is not an honest man. He is not a clean man. He is not a rational man. But he is a very big man.


With weapons. And metal clothing.


The point is, there's fun in kicking all kinds of ass with a simple character. Options are good; the fighter needs to decide what kind of simple style they want, but they ought to not clutter their array with extras. What they do, they do very well.


I agree with Steele: I run a 2e AD&D game, I run 3e and now I run 5e. 4e never caught on for reasons beyond the system itself, but I'm not against running it should I have a group with enough of a will to figure it out. The fighter hasn't ever been a bad character class.

I don't like fighter as Str warriors and rangers as Dex warriors.



I prefer fighters as the weapons and armor warrior. The barbarian as the raw talent warrior. The ranger as the situational and exotic warrior. And the rogue sucking at fighting so they cheat, look for openings, or run like little girls.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Fighter, well...he fights, and that's basically everything he does.

He is steady, reliable source of hitpoints and damage.

Barbarian can out damage him in rage and by superior movement so he could get more charge/flanking but at armor cost.

Ranger could out damage him in range combat and difficult terrain combat and stealth combat.

Paladin can out damage him vs undead and other evil stuff.

Fighter is actually a bard of hand to hand combat, good in every aspect of it but master of no special style.
I think you're right Mand12, there are many different takes on what the Fighter is and should be.

I myself see the Fighter Class as a baseline to allow us to create our version of a character that is a skilled Combatant.  Whether that is a Modern-styled Boxer, a Grecian Warrior-Statesman, a Medieval Man-at-Arms, the Renaissance Duelist-Philosopher, an Eastern Martial Artist or the Noble Knight.  He can be a simple Thug, or a skilled Tactician.  The Soldier, and the Warlord who commands him.

I want the Fighter to have the Mechanical Ability to represent any of these examples. 



For so many of those they would have to allow smarts to be used as part of fighting .. but since you know you cant make clever, inspired, precise, tricky, spirited, focused or potent attacks by exploiting perception or intelligence or strength of personality.. It just wont happen its gotta be brute force baby

Your cynicism is not unjustified, as reading the comments in this thread alone make clear.  I keep buying into DnDNext's hype, hoping to see them make progress with the system.  I don't have a problem with them doing what they need, to bring all Editions to the same table.  I'd love to see that.  That doesn't mean they need to backslide, though.  Or maybe they just need to go further.  As I understand it, before the Rogue appeared, the Fighter was also a skilled warrior.

I'll continue voicing my concerns and opinions, and hope that the Fighter class is not regulated to the simple man of violence.  If in the end it is though, I know I will not be buying 5th Ed. 
The fighter has no point. It is made to cover the archetype of someone who fights. This is however too broad in a class based game. People want the fighter to be unarmored savages, mounted knights, daring swashbucklers, archers, martial artists, generals, and everything in between. The issue is these archetypes all function quite differently so trying to shoehorn them all into the fighter gives us a very bland and boring fighter. It also leads to the fighter serving no real purpose that isn't accomplished by some other more specialized class.

At least in 4e the fighter had direction. Sure it angered some people that they couldn't make their particular concept using the "fighter" but each class had its very own niche.

Also WotC (and many posters) seem to think "best at fighting" simply means so the most damage. This is so far from true it is absurd. The base 4e fighter was way "better" at fighting than the 5e fighter simply because it had so much more battlefield control. The rogue may have done more damage, but no one at our tables would ever dare to say he was better at fighting than the fighter. Hell, our wizard in 4e did the least damage of anyone but we all realized she was the most important member of our group in a fight.

Now the 4e fighter wasn't necessarily the be all end all of fighters. Mandatory roles was rather poor design. But sub builds with roles did work. The fighter should be able to be a damage dealer or a protector, but should not necessarily be capable of both at once. I also fancy the idea that the rogue is the Dex based fighter in light armor while the warrior is the Str based fighter in heavy armor. Right now however it seems the "fighter" is determined to be every possible concept at once. The end result is that the fighter serves no real purpose.

The fighter should be the best at using arms and armor to defeat his enemies. Right now that seems to translate into best damage and HP. Those aren't the same however and this is where 5e is failing me.
Big picture:

FIGHTER
Fighters are martial characters that rely on their training with weapons and armor to see them through battle.  While all martial characters have some skill with each, Fighters are the best of them all, able to do things with their weapons others can only dream of.  The nature of their skills makes them bodily strong and hardy (Strength, Constitution) and they're comfortable in heavier armor than other classes.  In battle, they tend to be more direct - they seek out their target and engage them head on, using their superior training to overcome them.

Examples of fighters would be myrmidons, gladiators, and bodyguard.  A fighter that is a general often leads because his men respect/fear his power and seek to follow his example.

ROGUE
Rogues are martial characters that use their wits and trickery to gain advantage in combat.  They aren't as well-trained or hearty as a fighter or warlord, but they make up for it with their cunning and slipperiness.  A rogue rarely chooses to fight fair when they have the option, glad to take any advantage to get the upper hand.  And when they get it, they press it mercilessly.  Because they have to rely on their wits to survive, they possess a wide range of skills that go outside the boundaries of the other martial classes.  Regardless of their special skills, all rogues are agile on their feet (Dexterity) and use that natural ability more than armor to protect themselves.

Examples of rogues would be the cunning duelist, the clever thief, and the pluckish ne'er-do-well.  They may or may not follow a code - legal or personal.  If a rogue is the leader of men, it is often because they are the smartest, most charismatic, or cleverest of them.

WARLORD
Warlords are martial characters with some skill at weapons and armor.  But their real talent lies in using their allies as weapons, coordinating them in battle or pushing them to exceed their natural limits.  A warlord is capable of mixing it up when necessary and will typically do so to come to the aid of an ally in danger, but they're usually content to bark out orders and shout encouragement.  Warlords are usually brilliant strategists (Intelligence) or dynamic personalities (Charisma), but only the special few are both.

Examples of warlords would be military leaders who command respect due to their magnetic personality or vast experience rather than physical might, the "right hand men" to more powerful figures, or (in the case of the Int/Cha warlord) students of military history.

RANGER
Rangers are martial characters that eschew settled lands to push the boundaries of civilization, either because they feel at home in the wild or because structured society chafes them.  They are survivalists - light on their feet, clever in the face of danger, and able to live off the land as needed.  Their way of life lends itself to their normal weapon choices - bows and axes - and their skill with one or the other speaks to whether they live as hunters or woodsmen.

Examples of rangers are wilderness guides, hunters, woodsmen, and scouts that serve/protect settlements on the frontiers and fringes of society.
I think you're right Mand12, there are many different takes on what the Fighter is and should be.

I myself see the Fighter Class as a baseline to allow us to create our version of a character that is a skilled Combatant.  Whether that is a Modern-styled Boxer, a Grecian Warrior-Statesman, a Medieval Man-at-Arms, the Renaissance Duelist-Philosopher, an Eastern Martial Artist or the Noble Knight.  He can be a simple Thug, or a skilled Tactician.  The Soldier, and the Warlord who commands him.

I want the Fighter to have the Mechanical Ability to represent any of these examples. 



For so many of those they would have to allow smarts to be used as part of fighting .. but since you know you cant make clever, inspired, precise, tricky, spirited, focused or potent attacks by exploiting perception or intelligence or strength of personality.. It just wont happen its gotta be brute force baby

Your cynicism is not unjustified, as reading the comments in this thread alone make clear.  I keep buying into DnDNext's hype, hoping to see them make progress with the system.  I don't have a problem with them doing what they need, to bring all Editions to the same table.  I'd love to see that.  That doesn't mean they need to backslide, though.  Or maybe they just need to go further.  As I understand it, before the Rogue appeared, the Fighter was also a skilled warrior.

I'll continue voicing my concerns and opinions, and hope that the Fighter class is not regulated to the simple man of violence.  If in the end it is though, I know I will not be buying 5th Ed. 



I have you beat .. I dont "know" that. Inspite of my/our cynicism Mearles is a big fan of martial classes the ed giving dynamic choices with a feel of tactics is pretty good... they have been putting in subtle limits on spell casters like concentration and if the plan is to make multi-classing easy the fighter and with warlord being somewhere in the mix maybe our concerns can be met in unexpected ways (ok I am being flippy floppy.. )
  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."

 

I don't like fighter as Str warriors and rangers as Dex warriors. I prefer fighters as the weapons and armor warrior. The barbarian as the raw talent warrior. The ranger as the situational and exotic warrior. And the rogue sucking at fighting so they cheat, look for openings, or run like little girls.


I'm in agreement with Orzel. In fact the Rogues I've played go **** and elbows as soon as the situation goes south.

The Fighter is an expert in physical combat. This is the foundation of many, many Fighter archetypes. Ranging from big dumb guy with an even bigger stick to the grizzled mercenary, to a refined warrior poet. Fighter is the class that can be built up in the most ways. It comes with the least fluff and is really a skeleton or frame of mechanics to overlay character on.
Because of this its hard to pigeonhole the class into a simple definition.
See, this is all why I'd like something akin to L5R's character creation method.  Give us a few broad base classes, and allow us to to choose the skills and advantages or abilities through a point buy method.
For so many of those they would have to allow smarts to be used as part of fighting .. but since you know you cant make clever, inspired, precise, tricky, spirited, focused or potent attacks by exploiting perception or intelligence or strength of personality.. It just wont happen its gotta be brute force baby

Your cynicism is not unjustified, as reading the comments in this thread alone make clear.  I keep buying into DnDNext's hype, hoping to see them make progress with the system.  I don't have a problem with them doing what they need, to bring all Editions to the same table.  I'd love to see that.  That doesn't mean they need to backslide, though.  Or maybe they just need to go further.  As I understand it, before the Rogue appeared, the Fighter was also a skilled warrior.

I'll continue voicing my concerns and opinions, and hope that the Fighter class is not regulated to the simple man of violence.  If in the end it is though, I know I will not be buying 5th Ed. 



See, I think the fighter should be a blunt instrument but that doesn't mean I want universally stupid physical fighting classes - it must means I'd rather have more classes to cover those archetypes.


The fighter is a very specific thing insofar as it's got an image to live up to: reliable, solid, dangerous, simple (simple does NOT mean there aren't options). Does what it says on the tin is what my fighter does. He fights. People like him because he forces them to. With violence.


The main thing that separates fighters from other physical damage classes is they have a lot of choice about what weapon they end up specialising in. Monks don't so much, nor does a swashbuckler. Fighters get to pick between all major fighting styles and every weapon there is, which is a pretty cool schtick.


So I disagree with the idea that wanting the fighter to be a fairly simple character that is str driven and good with weapons more than anything else means that all physically minded classes want to solve their problems with a chainsaw. It just means that the specific class "fighter" does.

Everything you said there, is like the antithesis to my own opinons.
The fighter's point is that they can choose anything in combat. Other classes must specialize but have other features that pick up the slack.

In MTG terms, the fighter can make any aggro deck. Barbarians are limited to red but gets to start with 30 life. The ranger must play tribal but gets to start with one land in play. The monk has to play with old rotated out cards.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Honestly I see the fighter as something different.

He's the guy who takes the mundane every day, normal physical activities...and excells in it to a large degree.  He's overall the batman, the macguiver, the military man.  Just basically anyone who is trained to such a startling degree, that he's actually able to keep up with others who use para-normal means.  Sure he might need to rely on gear to help him keep up with things...but he knows how to get every last use out of that gear.


System wise..I've always seen him as the person you give to someone who either wants a simple character to play...or who needs to learn the actual system.  This is because I've always seen, game wise, the fighter to be someone who uses all of the normal every day elements of the system..stuff that every other class gets (or most other classes get).  But he excells at it..does it extra well, and probably gets more of any sort of common resource (like 3.5 fighters got more feats than any other class...like a ton more feats).

Now this does mean that doing the normal but 'more' can leave to issues if the normal isn't..good enough.  But I feel the normal needs to be brought up to be good enough, to where being good with it is powerful in its own right.  This thought on the fighter also leads to my belief that the game needs to be legitly playable with as few options as possible..while also allowing a huge breadth of options that you can ignore if you want to.



So more or less..I've always seen the fighter...as the distilation of the base system...everything in the system..heck in all honesty..everything that is 'core mechanics' the fighter must be the champion of.  If it's a core mechanic..he does it, and he does it better than anyone else can.  If the fighter dosn't have enough options to be interesting..then that means the core mechanics don't have enough options to be interesting.  If the fighter can't do it..or has no means to access it..then it isn't really a core mechanic.

But..that's just my thought.
The draw of a fighter is that we are familiar with them. Outside of D&D, most works that include violence will use a fighter to deal with that violence, or a rogue to evade it. Magical heroes are fairly rare by comparison.

Since familiarity is the draw, fighters operate using - roughly - the same set of physical laws that we do. Some people (including myself) feel that restraining a character class to reality is inappropriate in a game where other classes are constrained only by myth and imagination. Others have never had an issue with this, so YMMV.

I see fighters as action heroes. TVTropes has several lists of them, including big names like Arnold Schwartzenegger, Errol Flynn, and Chuck Norris.

As such a broad concept, it's hard to make combat classes that don't overlap with the fighter in some way.

In my view designers have to sit down and decide how thematically and mechanically specific they want their class system to be. When you make a fighter that's better than the ranger at archery and two-weapon fighting then you undermine what most players really want from the ranger just like if you make a fighter that's better than the Barbarian at furiously swinging a two-handed axe.

Likewise, if Paladins are just heavily armored fighters with free stuff, and Barbarians, Rogues, and Rangers best embody most other fighting styles, then you have no thematic niche for the Fighter. A similar situation would occur if Necromancer, Conjuror, Evoker, Enchanter, and Illusionist were each similar but seperate classes from Wizard. You'd immediately start comparing them to a Wizard that specialized in these effects and then either the specialist class or the generalist class would prove to be less worthwhile for that purpose.

I have no problem having either a very generalist set of classes such as "Warrior" and "Magic-user," or very thematically specific classes such as "Warlock," "Berserker," and "Swashbuckler." There's a fair trade-off between flexibility vs. tailored play that I'm comfortable with if the mechanics are well designed. I get frustrated though when designers try to have it both ways at the same time. Obviously previous editions have made it work, but we also wouldn't be having this discussion if their solutions had been perfect.
In my view designers have to sit down and decide how thematically and mechanically specific they want their class system to be. When you make a fighter that's better than the ranger at archery and two-weapon fighting then you undermine what most players really want from the ranger just like if you make a fighter that's better than the Barbarian at furiously swinging a two-handed axe.

Likewise, if Paladins are just heavily armored fighters with free stuff, and Barbarians, Rogues, and Rangers best embody most other fighting styles, then you have no thematic niche for the Fighter. A similar situation would occur if Necromancer, Conjuror, Evoker, Enchanter, and Illusionist were each similar but seperate classes from Wizard. You'd immediately start comparing them to a Wizard that specialized in these effects and then either the specialist class or the generalist class would prove to be less worthwhile for that purpose.

I have no problem having either a very generalist set of classes such as "Warrior" and "Magic-user," or very thematically specific classes such as "Warlock," "Berserker," and "Swashbuckler." There's a fair trade-off between flexibility vs. tailored play that I'm comfortable with if the mechanics are well designed. I get frustrated though when designers try to have it both ways at the same time. Obviously previous editions have made it work, but we also wouldn't be having this discussion if their solutions had been perfect.

This, I can definitely agree with.
I think trying to have their cake and eat it too  (both general and focused classes withing the same design space with the same design price).. is more than problematic because classes share things.

No time now, may elaborate later .. unless somebody knows what I mean ;p
  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."

 

The other problem is if you're going to base it on combat mechanics and who does better than whom then you're going to end up with a mediocre fighter if their thing is "combat" because everybody's thing is combat.


They've got to decide what kind of combat that is. Whether that's "weapon master" or "thug" or "bodyguard" or "bastard lunatic" is an entirely different issue. Fact is, they've gotta pick something.


The thing everyone seems to agree on so far is weapons. Fighters use weapons and they use them well. That means that whatever the fighter is, it's gotta be able to use weapons and their main combat advantage needs to spring from armed combat. So functionally, the fighter has to be able to pick whether they function as well as the ranger with bows, but they also need something else to make up for the suite of abilities the ranger has. Since their thing is weapons, they need something that derives from weapon use and probably they need to bet better with bows than a ranger if they choose to specialise with bows and worse with other weapons than a ranger is with those same weapons.


But that's where all the options come from. They specialise in a weapon and a fighting style and those things make them better with those weapons in that fighting style than anyone else, but if they're not using that style or they're not using that weapon they're the same as any other schmo. Pull them out of the style and give them a different weapon and they should be worse than any ohter schmo.


It has to be simple because there are so many options. Having a highly complex format alongside a lot of different directions one can take is confusing. Wizards are the same in that their means of access to the spell list has got to be easy to understand and more or less universally applicable because the individual spells take a lot of patience to get to know. Give wizards a complicated means of access to their complex list of spells and suddenly you have a headache to manage and write for.



So whatever the fighter does, it's gotta be something specific. Can't be more than one thing and it's got to be better at the one thing it does settle on than everyone else is at that one thing. Even if the player picks what that one thing is.

I have no problem having either a very generalist set of classes such as "Warrior" and "Magic-user," or very thematically specific classes such as "Warlock," "Berserker," and "Swashbuckler." There's a fair trade-off between flexibility vs. tailored play that I'm comfortable with if the mechanics are well designed. I get frustrated though when designers try to have it both ways at the same time. Obviously previous editions have made it work, but we also wouldn't be having this discussion if their solutions had been perfect.


When you've got some overlap between generalist and specialist classes (or any two classes, for that matter), you have to find different ways of doing the same thing, with meaningful trade-offs between them.  The barbarian doesn't feel like he overshadows the fighter, or vice versa, as long as (a) each can do things that the other can't; (b) these things have the same general result of creating a tough and hard-hitting character; and (c) the things are balanced:  one or the other may be better in a certain situation, but neither is better in the majority of situations nor overwhelmingly better in any situation*.  So the fighter's defense, for instance, may rest on a combination of hit points, AC, and parry, where the barbarian's defense may be a larger pool of hit points and perhaps a regeneration ability or something.  They feel and play differently, but as long as the system math is right, you can't universally say "fighters are easier to kill than barbarians" or vice versa.

*Unless the situation has been engineered by the character - reward smart play.
A similar situation would occur if Necromancer, Conjuror, Evoker, Enchanter, and Illusionist were each similar but seperate classes from Wizard. You'd immediately start comparing them to a Wizard that specialized in these effects and then either the specialist class or the generalist class would prove to be less worthwhile for that purpose.

Actually I think that would be great, but then again, I'm in the group of people who think the wizard's defining trait is his flexibility and power to do a little bit of nearly everything magical. And I don't see any problem with fighter filling the same role in terms of melee combat. He doesn't have the highest damage or highest hp or highest AC or the best anything, if he has the second best everything.

This is one of those basic problems with class design for which there is no perfect solution. Some people prefer highly specialized characters, and other prefer generalists.

I don't like fighter as Str warriors and rangers as Dex warriors. I prefer fighters as the weapons and armor warrior. The barbarian as the raw talent warrior. The ranger as the situational and exotic warrior. And the rogue sucking at fighting so they cheat, look for openings, or run like little girls.


I agree.  To me it works like this.

A fighter excels at using the weapons and armor in which he has chosen to train.
> A fighter is a professional, concentrating on his tools.  
A rogue excels at using his nimble body to accomplish deadly tasks
> A rogue is an athlete, concentrating on his body.
A ranger excels at targeting specific creatures (that knowledge being translatable to other targets)
> A ranger is a hunter, concentrating on his prey.
A warlord excels at manipulating group dynamics (of both enemies and allies)
> A warlord is a leader, concentrating on groups.
A barbarian excels at pushing his body to superhuman limits. 
> A barbarian is a berzerker, concentrating on his emotions.
A monk excels at precision strikes using the least energy
> A monk is a philosopher, concentrating on his soul.

On that basis I really don't like the focus that rangers get in two-weapon fighting and archery.  I much prefer the ranger's focus on favored quarries.  
I've been saying some of these very things for a long time now.

1) The name: Fighter is the absolute worst class name in D&D. Every class fights. Calling someone a "fighter" doesn't do anything to differentiate the class from anyone else. 

2) What he can do well. Not much that other classes can't also do and, sometimes, do better. 

3) What he can't do well. Pretty much anything not direct, hand-to-hand based fighting. 

4) His purpose. Before 4E, it was simply the class the new player picked because it was easy to figure out. Then people griped about roles. Now he's basically back to where he was many years ago.

5) His identity. He fights things. Who doesn't? Whoop-tee-doo. If he were slightly less good at fighting than he already is, he would be a 100% invalid class. The problem is, he's the standard by which other melee classes are measured and compared. That's kind of sad.

Solutions...since I'm of the mind that you shouldn't bring up problems unless you're able to provide solutions as well:

1) Drop the class entirely. Yep. Remove it. When someone says, "I wanna fight things", you can ask them how they want to fight things and pick a class based on the answer. Want to shoot things with a bow? Be a Ranger. Want to be a mounted warrior of faith? Be a Paladin. Want to be the chivalrous hero of lore? Be a Knight. Want to be a fierce killing machine like Conan? Be a Barbarian. Want to be a net and spear warrior? Be a Gladiator. Bust the fighter apart and give his few goodies to other classes that have actual direction and focus.

2) Rename him and give him a purpose. Something beyond "hit it with my sword", which pretty much every other class can do. Load him to the gills with unique maneuvers, tricks, stunts, and flashy goodness. Don't let every other melee class share in his goodies. They've got their own shtick...leave the fighter's alone. Since the fighter is the standard by which all other melee classes are measured, by God make it a good standard.
Can't remember old account log-in. Using this one instead. Getting old sucks.
Fighter: Assault Rifle
Rogue: Pistol
Ranger: Sniper rifle/Machine gun (sub or light)
Barbarian: Dual wield Shotgun and grenade combo
Monk: A knife
Warlord: A map, radio, and a rifle

The fighter fights the way you are supposed to. The rogue is outgunned so if an easy head shot isn't available, they stay back. The barbarian is nuts and relies on emotion, fear, and raw power to succeed. The ranger is a specialist only and is great at hunting their target(s). Monks rely on mysticism as they do things the archaic or commoner way. And warlords run the metagame outside of the individual fights between combatants.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

In my mind, part of the power of the fighter is that they are a generalist combat class.

You give a rogue a two-handed sword, he has no idea what he's doing.  Same with a ranger.  Ask a cleric to take a precision shot with a longbow, it's not going to happen.

A fighter can do all of these.  He may not be as good at the stealth assassination as the rogue; not as precise a marksman as the ranger; not as devastating with a two-handed weapon as the barbarian.  But the fact that he can use any weapon, anytime, gives him a versatility that the specialist classes lack.


Of course, part of actually making this work is making weapon choice matter.  Your choice of weapon should determine more than just your damage die; some should be better in one situation, and others better in another.  If there's no benefit to using the right weapon for the right fight, then being versatile is irrelevant.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
In my mind, part of the power of the fighter is that they are a generalist combat class.

You give a rogue a two-handed sword, he has no idea what he's doing.  Same with a ranger.  Ask a cleric to take a precision shot with a longbow, it's not going to happen.

A fighter can do all of these.  He may not be as good at the stealth assassination as the rogue; not as precise a marksman as the ranger; not as devastating with a two-handed weapon as the barbarian.  But the fact that he can use any weapon, anytime, gives him a versatility that the specialist classes lack.


Of course, part of actually making this work is making weapon choice matter.  Your choice of weapon should determine more than just your damage die; some should be better in one situation, and others better in another.  If there's no benefit to using the right weapon for the right fight, then being versatile is irrelevant.

I absolutely agree with you on making Weapon Choice matter.
I always saw the fighter as a weapon specialist, perfecting a particular fighting style

I'm surpised we still dont see weapon specialization in DDN  
After reading a bunch of posts on a bunch of threads, I was about to post something about fighters. But I think this thread will let me talk about that a bit.

I've played just about every class in 1st-3rd. I never felt disenfranchised as a fighter in any edition, and I never seemed to overpower the fighters when I was playing something else. I've played a sword-and-shield "knight," a duellist, an archer, and a greatsword specialist. My job was to make things dead, in the fastest and most efficient way I could.

I made my stats fit that job, took weapon proficiencies (and specialisation), feats when they were introduced, and whatever else I could to do that job the best I could manage it. I don't need maneuvers or special powers. I'm one of those players who is content to swing a sword or mace, or fling sticks downrange, and I get a thrill when I tell the DM "I'm aiming for his wrist to eliminate the threat of his evil dagger," and roll, and the DM says I was successful.

Now, I never ran out of point-buy points that I couldn't put points into stats that would let me be effective in non-combat situations. But then, I never expected to be able to pick locks as well as the rogue (unless you count this large, two-handed "lockpick" I have ), or identify magical items except by using them, or heal a companion without using a healing kit, or track as well as the ranger. Sure, I could often see tracks, but the ranger would notice little nuances that would make his tracking more sure or give different conclusions from mine.

Our group likes specialists. Generalists just don't work for us. The druid shouldn't expect to be as good as the fighter in a fight, or as good as the rogue when it comes to sneaking around. When it's time to gather information, we all take part, since different enquiry tactics work on different sorts of people, but when it's time to investigate, the rogue is off. When it's time to scout terrain, the ranger takes the ground route while the mage goes "hawk" and makes the aerial run. But when it's time to fight, fighters to the fore, with archers second rank, while the rest help out. But we fully expect the fighters to do the majority of the damage (and they usually oblige with huge grins).



Unfortunately since we are talking anecdotal evidence here, the Rogue, Barbarian, and Monk always seemed to out damage the Fighter in my games. So the Fighter wasn't the go to guy to kill things...Smile

Now the Fighter could always pick up just any old weapon lying around and put on any old armor they found, and that helped out a lot when the characters escaped from being captured or had their gear stolen, or they found a magic weapon or armor if no one else could use it, the Fighter could use it. Then the weapon specialization and focus came in and with their chosen weapon a Fighter could almost break even with the other melee classes and could sometimes hit things that others couldn't.

So I maintain that the Fighters role is not "Best at Fighting", its "Best at confrontational weapon and armor usage"...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
To define the fighter, we have to define what is a rogue and what is a ranger.

Some light soldiers/warriors types could be defined as what are rogues and rangers in D&D.

Rangers as two weapons fighters living in the wilderness make no sense in many natural surrounding, including the underdark where the passages can be far too narrow to use more than a single short weapon. And archery in surroundings like average to dense forests is not the best choice regarding combat.

Rogues are totally undefined, they range from the scorbutic beggar to the fearless light two-weapon fighter, but even the scorbutic beggar only see combat from a sneak attacking point of view, even if it's suicidal for him. They are worst than wizards from a concept definition point of view.

The roles I would give to them :
• Fighters are trained to exploit their Strength in combat. So they are best served with heavy weapons and armors.
• Rangers are trained to exploit their Dexterity in combat. (They are the light fighters). They operate better than fighters in difficult natural surrondings, so most of them specialize into this area not covered by fighters.
• Rogues are not trained combattant at all. Most of them develop combat abilities derived from the way they live or survive. The closer to combat training some rogues may have with weapons are based on hit and run tactics. Most are not competent in direct combat, but they are dangerous X-factors during them.



I find that Fighters are controntational direct toe to toe weapon and armor users. Rangers are usually trackers, ambushers, and Focused specialists with knowledge of the wild. Rogues use deceit and trickery to get their way.
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
To me the Fighter class is the most maleable. Its generic enough to make from it exactly what you want for a pure fighting class. If I want to make a hulking brute who carries a Maul and squishes everything in his path, I can make him. If I want to make a quick archer who is a dead shot as well as a good sword arm, I can make it. If I want a man-at-arms who can use whatever is close as a weapon, changing to fit the need and situation, I can make that. I dont need 3 different classes, I only need the Fighter. I especially like what DDN is doing with weapons because now I can tailor the weapons bonuses to what my Fighters primary stats are. XD are a great addition to Fighters, in my opinion, even if he has to share the mechanic with his fighting counterparts. To me, its the fact that he DOESN'T get the stuff that Warlords, Rangers, Rogues, Paladins, etc etc get that makes him special. He is more flexible than those classes, and I think thats his real strength.